An educational video significantly improved hairdressers’ knowledge of melanoma warning signs and their confidence in their ability to identify potentially cancerous skin lesions, according to study results.
“Half of melanomas go undetected by self-inspection, and those undetected occur frequently on the scalp and neck,” Neda R. Black, MD, of University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado, and colleagues wrote. “We have previously provided a rationale for the role of hairdressers, a group that makes daily observations of the scalp and neck, in the detection of [scalp and neck] melanomas in the general population.”
Prior research identified knowledge gaps in hairdressers’ ability to identify signs and symptoms of melanoma; however, most hairdressers expressed a desire to learn more about melanoma detection.
Black and colleagues conducted a pre- and posttest intervention study to assess how hairdressers’ knowledge of and self-confidence in melanoma detection changed following a 5-minute video intervention intended to increase their knowledge of melanoma.
The researches sent a study link to 20 beauty schools in Los Angeles County, and 100 participants (92% women; mean age, 26 years) completed both the pre- and posttest. Seventy-nine percent of the cohort reported previous training about skin cancer.
After the video intervention, a significantly higher percentage of study participants correctly identified border irregularity as part of standard ABCDE criteria for melanoma detection (59% before the video vs. 71% after; P = .008).
The percentage of participants who identified asymmetrical moles (75% vs. 85%; P = .02) and irregular borders (84% vs. 91%; P = .04) as worrisome features for melanoma increased significantly after the video intervention.
The percentage of participants who correctly identified all worrisome features for melanoma — such as asymmetry, irregular borders, multiple colors and changing moles — also increased significantly (34% vs 47%; P = .004).
The number of participants who reported high confidence in their ability to detect skin lesions that could be cancerous doubled after the intervention (19% vs 41%; P = .001).
“Hairdressers have the ability to monitor a large extent of the general public’s scalp and neck, highlighting their usefulness for the detection of scalp-and-neck melanomas via population-based screening and referral,” Black and colleagues wrote. “Findings from this study suggest that a brief educational video can be beneficial for educating hairdressers about melanoma risk and the ABCDE criteria for atypical nevi and melanoma detection, while also building on self-efficacy skills in skin lesion detection that might carry over to improved screening of those individuals at risk for melanoma.”
Researchers acknowledged study limitations, such as a small sample size — which may have affected their ability to detect changes in some measures after the education intervention — and limited external validity of the findings given what they called “the convenience sampling approach.”
Also, because nearly four of every five participants reported prior skin cancer training, it was unclear whether the educational intervention provided new knowledge about melanoma detection, reinforced existing knowledge or both.
“More research is needed to determine if such knowledge and self-efficacy gains are maintained over longer periods of time and against an active control condition in a randomized controlled trial,” Black and colleagues wrote. “Based on our initial testing of an educational video intervention, training hairdressers in melanoma screening and referral seems to be a promising avenue for future research.” by Cassie Homer
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.