Research Article

Audit of public education campaign to encourage earlier detection of malignant melanoma.

BMJ 1992; 304 doi: (Published 18 April 1992) Cite this as: BMJ 1992;304:1012
  1. R. M. MacKie,
  2. D. Hole
  1. Department of Dermatology, University of Glasgow.


    OBJECTIVES--To evaluate a public campaign to encourage earlier referral and treatment of primary cutaneous malignant melanoma and thus reduce mortality related to melanoma. DESIGN--Production and distribution of educational material aimed at adults. Update information sent to general practitioners before campaign. Analysis of data on melanoma before and after campaign in June 1985. SETTING--West of Scotland, population 2.7 million. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Total numbers of referrals per month to melanoma clinic, numbers of melanomas diagnosed, change in distribution of thickness, and mortality before and after introducing the campaign. RESULTS--Referrals to the pigmented lesion clinic increased by 278%, from five a week in June-July 1984 to 19 a week in June-July 1985. Twice as many women as men were referred to the clinic (49% of referrals were of women aged under 65). The numbers of newly diagnosed primary cutaneous melanoma were 63 (12/month) in January-May 1985 and 146 (21/month) in June-December 1985, an increase of 131%. The percentage of tumours detected that were less than 1.5 mm thick rose significantly by 16% (95% confidence interval 11% to 19%), from 38% (328) in 1979-84 to 54% (592) in 1985-9. Mortality began to fall in women from 1988. CONCLUSIONS--The public education campaign succeeded in reducing the absolute number of thick tumours and melanoma related mortality in women.