Communication about family members' risk of melanoma: Self-reported practices of dermatologists in the United States Journal Article


Authors: Oliveria, S. A.; Heneghan, M. K.; Halpern, A. C.; Hay, J. L.; Geller, A. C.
Article Title: Communication about family members' risk of melanoma: Self-reported practices of dermatologists in the United States
Abstract: Objectives: To assess current self-reported communication and screening practices of dermatologists to their patients with melanoma about family members' risk of melanoma at the time of diagnosis and to understand the barriers that dermatologists encounter in communicating risk to patients. Design: Descriptive survey study. Setting: Office-based practicing physicians in the United States. Participants: One thousand dermatologists. Main Outcome Measure: Melanoma risk communication practices. Results: Of 974 eligible dermatologists, 406 completed the survey (response rate, 41.7%). Almost 85% of dermatologists reported that they often or always communicate risk to patients with melanoma about their first-degree relatives, and almost 80% reported that they often or always advise their patients with melanoma that their older children (≥18 years) may be at greater risk of skin cancer. However, less than 50% of dermatologists routinely offered to screen first-degree relatives who live nearby, while only 19.7% used medical record reminders to note communication of melanoma risk to family members. Most dermatologists reported no major barriers to melanoma risk communication. However, the presence of "any risk communication barrier" (time constraints, absence of guidelines, or lack of written material) was associated with reduced melanoma risk communication practices by dermatologists. Conclusions: The observed high rates of self-reported risk communication by dermatologists to patients with melanoma about their first-degree family members are encouraging. However, the reported low rates of actual screening of first-degree relatives warrant easy-to-administer office-based medical record reminders to facilitate and optimize screening of at-risk relatives.
Keywords: adult; middle aged; cancer risk; united states; clinical practice; family health; melanoma; skin neoplasms; incidence; prevalence; risk factors; patient education as topic; cancer screening; self report; questionnaires; doctor patient relation; medical record; communication; communication skill; interpersonal communication; physician attitude; health knowledge, attitudes, practice; dermatology; family; descriptive research; dermatologist
Journal Title: Archives of Dermatology
Volume: 148
Issue: 5
ISSN: 0003-987X
Publisher: American Medical Association  
Date Published: 2012-01-16
Start Page: 621
End Page: 627
Language: English
DOI: 10.1001/archdermatol.2011.2515
PROVIDER: scopus
PUBMED: 22250188
DOI/URL:
Notes: --- - "Export Date: 4 June 2012" - "CODEN: ARDEA" - "Source: Scopus"
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MSK Authors
  1. Allan C Halpern
    305 Halpern
  2. Jennifer L Hay
    164 Hay