by Philippa H. Youl, Monika Janda, John B. Lowe and Joanne F. Aitken
Issue addressed: The incidence of skin cancer is rising in many populations around the world. In Australia, men have both the highest incidence of thick melanoma and an increased risk of dying from this disease. Skin screening may provide a method for detecting lesions at an earlier stage. This study sought to assess the impact of two methods of encouraging men to attend free open-access skin screening clinics.
Methods: A randomised controlled trial of two recruitment methods. Subjects comprised all men aged 30 to 79 years (n=1,322) from a rural community. We randomly allocated 50% (661) to receive a personalised letter with the remaining 50% receiving the letter plus an additional brochure.
Results: Both groups were similar in age distribution. A total of 250 men (18.9%) attended the skin screening clinic. Overall, there was no difference in rates of attendance between the two groups. Younger men (30 to 49 years) in the letter and brochure group were more likely to attend a clinic, while men ³50 years in the letter only group were more likely to attend (p=0.01)
Conclusions: These results indicate that a personalised letter or targeted approach of invitation is effective in encouraging men to attend a skin screening clinic. The addition of health information through the use of a glossy brochure did not increase screening participation among men over 50.
Key words: Melanoma, skin screening, intervention.
Health Promotion Journal of Australia 2005;16:229-32
Health information is not a significant factor in the decision to attend skin screening for men over 50. This may not be the case for younger men.