Promoting early detection of melanoma during the mammography experience

A. K. Rzepecki, N. Jain, Y. Ali, L. Chavez, J. Choi, B. Schlosser, E. Liko-Hazizi, S. M. Friedewald, J. K. Robinson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background Invasive melanoma, a lethal form of skin cancer, is the seventh most common cancer in women. Factors such as a history of indoor tanning or sunburn and a personal or family history of skin cancer increase a woman's risk of developing a melanoma. Objective Because the majority of melanomas occur in patients age 40 years or older, which is the age that is recommended for women to begin screening mammograms, the mammogram experience could be used to promote early detection of melanoma by introducing skin self-examinations (SSE) to a population of women who are already invested in preventive health. Methods This was a pilot and feasibility study that was designed to promote the early detection of melanoma among women who undergo a mammogram at the Lynn Sage Breast Center at the Northwestern Medicine/Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. The study was conducted in three phases: development of the materials, delivery of the program, and assessment of the program effectiveness. Results Eighty six percent of women with scheduled mammogram appointments participated in the study (n = 560). Among these women, 68% noticed the SSE information in the changing rooms, 78% thought the information applied to them, and 68% identified with at least one of the risk factors for melanoma. Twenty percent of the patients checked their skin in the changing room, 13% noticed a concerning mole, and 60% of those women who noted a concerning lesion stated their intent to see a dermatologist for further evaluation. Conclusion A large proportion of the women in our study had risk factors for developing a melanoma and noticed the SSE information in the screening center. Placing an intervention to encourage methods for the early detection of melanoma in an outpatient mammography environment is an effective strategy to increase awareness in a large proportion of at-risk women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-200
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Women's Dermatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • mammogram
  • melanoma
  • skin cancer screening
  • skin self-examination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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