Correspondence and Correlates of Couples’ Skin Cancer Screening

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Abstract

IMPORTANCE

Skin cancer is common among older adults. Some national organizations recommend total cutaneous examination (TCE) and skin self-examination (SSE) for skin cancer detection. Although the spousal relationship is a known influence on health behavior, little is known about the level of correspondence in skin screening among couples.

OBJECTIVE

To investigate correspondence of TCE and SSE among older couples, demographic correlates of correspondence, and correspondence among barriers to skin examinations.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS

Cross-sectional online survey of cohabitating partners 50 years or older performed from June 1, 2010, through July 31, 2010, via the nationally representative GfK (Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung or Society for Consumer Research) Internet panel.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES

Both TCE in the past 3 years and SSE in the past year.

RESULTS

Correspondence among partners was high. For TCE, both partners had completed TCE in 23.9%, and both partners had not completed TCE in 47.3%. With regard to SSE, both partners had completed SSE in 39.8%, and both partners had not completed SSE in 38.9%. Correlates of both partners not completing TCE include lower household income, larger household size, nonmetropolitan residence, living in the Midwest, and being in a same-sex relationship. Correlates of both members not completing SSE included larger household size and being in a same-sex relationship. Barriers to screening that members of couples reported were similar to one another.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE

Couples were mostly concordant with regard to engagement in skin examinations. Therefore, dyadic interventions to increase screening rates could be useful. Certain sociodemographic groups should especially be targeted.

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