Video education to improve recognition of common benign and malignant cutaneous lesions and skin cancer prevention in the public

E. Lenczowski*, E. Tung-Hahn, J. Higareda, C. McCormick, T. Markoff, M. Arffa, E. Poon, K. Lee, M. Alam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: Although dermatologists strive to provide patient education on sun protection and skin cancer, approximately 90% of Americans have limited health literacy skills. Little has been written about the means to best teach all levels of learners to recognize common benign and malignant skin lesions. Earlier work found that with advancing age, adults were less able to identify concerning lesions, thus underscoring the need for accessible education. Methods: We showed subjects a brief video (7th grade level) about common cutaneous growths, reducing the risk of skin cancer, and the importance of early detection. Subjects were asked about their skin cancer history, educational format preference, and the perceived impact of the video. Comprehension of symptoms of skin cancer and the benefits of sunscreen use and the ability to identify a melanoma, nevus, angioma, and seborrheic keratosis were also assessed. Results: Of the 156 subjects, mean age 52.7 years (range, 18-88 years), 31% had a history of skin cancer. A total of 98.7% found the video to be helpful; 92% preferred having a video as part of their teaching versus 9% who preferred written materials alone, 99% knew that a new or changing lesion could signal skin cancer, and 100% correctly answered that wearing sunscreen is protective. Subjects correctly identified lesions as melanoma (99%), benign mole (97%), angiomas (96%), and seborrheic keratosis (91%). There was a nominal trend toward higher scores in people who preferred video learning, had no history of skin cancer, and were older than 60 years of age. Conclusion: In this study, we found that a brief, plain-language video was effective at conveying understandable content to help subjects learn to identify common cancerous and benign skin growths while also teaching them strategies to protect against skin cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-82
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Women's Dermatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • audiovisual aid
  • patient education
  • skin cancer awareness
  • video education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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