Text messages to improve skin cancer prevention and promote sun protection could actually save your life, according to QUT, Cancer Council Queensland and University of Queensland.
The researchers conducted a 12-month trial, which was targeted at individuals aged between 18-42 years, an age group in which mobile phone use is almost universal. The trial tested the impact and value of SMS delivered messages promoting sun protection along with skin self-examination for early detection of skin cancer.
Lead investigator Associate Professor Monika Janda at QUT said, "The study involved more than 500 participants and concluded that SMS delivered intervention was effective, far-reaching, flexible and individualized. The text messages reminded recipients to wear sunscreen and sun smart clothing as well as limit their time in the sun between 10am and 4pm. The participants were also asked whether they or someone other than a doctor, such as a spouse or partner, had checked any part of their skin for early signs of skin cancer."
At the end of the 12-months study period, the self-reported sun protection habits of those who participated in the sun protection and skin self-examination groups showed significant improvement. The proportion conducting any skin self-examination, significantly increased in the skin self-examination group from 37 percent to 63 percent.
Janda said, "The trial demonstrated that in the future a database could be set up for people to subscribe to receive ongoing text messages to trigger greater sun protection awareness, promote skin self-examination for early detection and reduce the rates of skin cancer."
The results appear in international journal Preventative Medicine.