Washington: If you love phone, there's good news for you, as a new research has claimed that text messages to improve skin cancer prevention and promote sun protection could actually save your life.
QUT, Cancer Council Queensland and University of Queensland conducted a 12-month trial, which was targeted at individuals aged between 18 and 42 - an age group in which mobile phone use is almost universal.
The trial tested the impact and value of SMS-delivered messages promoting sun protection along with skin self-examination for early detection of skin cancer, while a third group received texts encouraging physical activity.
Lead investigator Associate Professor Monika Janda at QUT said the study involved more than 500 participants and concluded that SMS-delivered intervention was effective, far-reaching, flexible and individualised.
The text messages reminded recipients to wear sunscreen and sun smart clothing as well as limit their time in the sun between 10am and 4pm. They also asked participants whether they or someone other than a doctor, such as a spouse or partner, had checked any part of their skin for early signs of skin cancer.
By the end of the 12 months, the self-reported sun protection habits of those who participated in the sun protection and skin self-examination groups showed significant improvement. The proportion conducting any skin self-examination, not specifically of the whole-body, significantly increased in the skin self-examination group from 37 per cent to 63 per cent.
Katie Clift from Cancer Council Queensland said the implications of the trial outcomes were very encouraging.
Janda said the trial demonstrated that in the future a database could be set up for people to subscribe to receive ongoing text messages to trigger greater sun protection awareness, promote skin self-examination for early detection and reduce the rates of skin cancer.
The results are published in international journal Preventative Medicine.