Can skin cancer prevention be improved through mobile technology interventions? A systematic review

Finch, Linda, Janda, Monika, Loescher, Lois J., & Hacker, Elke (2016) Can skin cancer prevention be improved through mobile technology interventions? A systematic review. Preventive Medicine, 90, pp. 121-132.

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  • Print-based health promotion interventions are being phased out to bring forth more appealing and assessable new technology applications. This review aimed to evaluate the current literature on the use of mobile text messaging and similar electronic technology interventions in the area of skin cancer prevention.


  • A search of studies guided by Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) was conducted on mobile technology interventions for improving skin cancer prevention in the electronic databases PubMed, MEDLINE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), and PsycINFO.


  • Overall, 136 articles were screened for eligibility between 2001 (earliest relevant article found) and November 2015. Eight studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria and were reviewed according to the PRISMA guidelines. Of these, five were RCTs, two were controlled clinical trials, and one was a cohort study. Five studies used text messages as an intervention, two used mobile phone applications, and another used electronic messages via email. All studies resulted in self-reported behaviour change in at least some of their outcome measures (e.g., sunscreen application, seeking shade, or overall sun protection such as wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses).


  • While the behaviour change outcomes are promising, the lack of change in more objective measures such as sunburn indicates a need to further improve mobile phone technology-delivered interventions in order to have a greater impact on skin cancer prevention. Future studies may consider the use of objective outcome measures (e.g., sunscreen weight), electronic diaries, or behavioural outcomes in social networks.

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ID Code: 97852
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: skin cancer, prevention, text messaging, mobile applications, cell phones
DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.06.037
ISSN: 0091-7435
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Elsevier Inc
Copyright Statement: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution; Non-Commercial; No-Derivatives 4.0 International. DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.06.037
Deposited On: 02 Aug 2016 03:53
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2016 05:25

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