Background: Skin cancers are the most commonly diagnosed of all cancers. It is a global public health problem that differentially affects the residents of geographic regions where ultraviolet radiation has greater penetration. This study aims to investigate the knowledge and self-examination practices of melanoma in the western region of Saudi Arabia.
Methodology: A cross-sectional study was carried out among the adult population in the western region, Saudi Arabia. Questionnaires were used in data collection. The questionnaire included questions about sociodemographic factors and awareness of melanoma and the importance of self-examination. A statistical analysis was conducted using STATA 12 software. Intergroup differences were compared using the t-test.
Results: The sample included 874 responders who filled an online survey sent to their e-mails. The whiteskinned population had the highest exposure to the sun (p = 0.0001), and also, their skin gets inflamed or burned when exposed to the sun (p = 0.0001); moreover, they had higher knowledge of skin cancers (p =0.008), and they are the most affected population with melanoma (p = 0.0001). However, they lack information regarding regular checkups, alarming signs of skin cancer transformation, prognosis, and the most common sites of skin cancers. Knowledge of females regarding skin cancer prognosis and general knowledge of risk factors of its development were significantly higher when compared to males, with p-value 0.006 and 0.017, respectively.
Conclusion: People living in the western area of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia significantly lack an adequate knowledge regarding skin cancers, less regular examination, and less sun exposure. Age, gender, and skin color were the associated factors related to knowledge regarding skin cancers. Additional efforts should be made to improve the population's perspective, particularly men, on skin cancer prevention.
Key words: Skin cancers, melanoma, knowledge, self-examination, Saudi Arabia