Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia
On-line version ISSN 1806-4841
MAIA, Marcus and BASSO, Marianne. Who discovers the cutaneous melanoma. An. Bras. Dermatol. [online]. 2006, vol.81, n.3, pp. 244-248. ISSN 1806-4841. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0365-05962006000300006.
BACKGROUND - In Brazil, it is still unknown who first discovers the cases of cutaneous melanoma. The understanding of our “finding patterns” could be used as a basis for public education programs and healthcare professional training. OBJECTIVE - To determine the role of patients in detecting lesions by themselves. METHODS - One hundred and nine patients were interviewed. The patients had a diagnosis of cutaneous melanoma and were regularly seen at the Melanoma Unit of Hospital Santa Casa de Misericórdia, in São Paulo. Other variables were considered to evaluate possible influences in the results: sex, age, marital status, schooling, family history of melanoma, site of the primary lesion and knowledge about skin cancer. RESULTS - Out of 109 interviewed patients, 54% had the lesion detected by themselves. Of those, 62% were female, 51% were aged under 60 years, 90% had no family history of melanoma, 78% had no knowledge about skin cancer, 59% were married and 52% concluded up to primary education. Out of the remaining 50 patients, 24% had their lesions detected by health professionals, 10% by their wives, 1% by their husbands and 11% by other people. CONCLUSION - Fifty-four percent of patients detected the lesion by themselves, and roughly 25% had the lesion detected by a lay person. These results are similar to those reported in the literature of developed countries. The clientele evaluated is attended by public healthcare services and the results lead to the conclusion that some influence of public health campaigns could already be noticed in Brazil.
Keywords : Diagnosis; Epidemiology; Melanoma.