Individuals diagnosed with melanoma before the age of 40 (young-onset melanoma survivors) and their first-degree relatives (FDRs) are a growing population at risk for developing recurrent melanoma or new melanomas. Regular surveillance using clinical skin examination (CSE) and skin self-examination (SSE), and engagement in preventive behaviors including sun protection are recommended. Given the growing population of young melanoma survivors and their families who are at increased risk, it is surprising that no behavioral interventions have been developed and evaluated to improve risk-reduction behaviors.
In response, 16 researchers from ten institutions and organizations have developed an intervention and published its protocol in JMIR Research Protocols. Ultimately, the intervention is designed to improve skin cancer prevention and screening for young-onset melanoma survivors and their families. The authors believe the intervention’s delivery via Facebook will increase its impact because of the dissemination potential.
The randomized controlled trial will evaluate the efficacy of a Facebook intervention providing information, goal setting, and peer support to increase CSE, SSE, and sun protection for young-onset melanoma survivors and their FDRs. A sample of over 500 melanoma survivors and their FDRs will be randomly assigned to either the Young Melanoma Family Facebook Group or another Facebook group control condition. Before and after the intervention, study participants will complete measures of CSE, SSE, sun protection, attitudes, and beliefs. An additional objective is to evaluate the efficacy of the Facebook interventions on perceived stress, physical activity, and healthy eating behaviors.
The authors plan to complete study enrollment by late 2023. Data analysis will employ multilevel modeling with family as the upper-level sampling unit and individual as the lower-level sampling unit. According to the authors, “Fixed effect predictors in these models will include condition, role, sex, all 2- and 3-way interactions, and covariates.” If effective, the Young Melanoma Family Facebook program could be disseminated by dermatology practices, public health and nonprofit melanoma organizations, and existing melanoma and skin cancer Facebook groups, expanding its reach.
Paper Authors and Affiliations
Dr. Sharon Manne, Dr. Carolyn Heckman, Sara Frederick, Mara Domider, and Marissa Grosso: Behavioral Sciences, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Dr. Sherry Pagoto: Department of Allied Health Sciences, College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticutt
Dr. Susan Peterson: Department of Behavioral Science, Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas, San Antonio, Texas
Dr. Deborah Kashy: College of Social Science, Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
Dr. Adam Berger: Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Dr. Christina Studts: Pediatrics – General Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado
Dr. Rosalyn Negron: College of Liberal Arts, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts
Dr. David Buller: Klein Buendel, Inc, Golden, Colorado
Dr. Lisa Paddock and Alexandria Kulik: Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Joseph Gallo: Hackensack Meridian Jersey Shore Medical Center, Hackensack Meridian Health, Neptune City, New Jersey
Morgan Pesanelli: School of Public Health, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey
This project was supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute to Rutgers University (CA221854; Dr. Sharon Manne, Principal Investigator). Dr. David Buller, Klein Buendel Director of Research, is a Co-Investigator on the project.