Advancing Survivors’ Knowledge (ASK) About Skin Cancer

Images of Alan Geller's ASK Study print materials

PI: Alan Geller, RN, MPH, Harvard School of Public Health

Newly enrolled participants in Alan Geller's RCT received a nested set of print materials welcoming them to the study and providing them with easy-to-use tools to help them conduct monthly skin self-checks and ask their regular healthcare providers for yearly clinical skin examinations. Also included in the materials were instructions on how to log on to the study website, where they can find videos demonstrating how to check their skin, photographs of what to look for, and tips on preventing skin cancer. One arm of the study also received a DermLite device that attached to their smart phones and allowed them to take high-resolution images of abnormal marks on their skin, which they could then upload to the ASK website for review by the study dermatologist. Step-by-step printed instructions guided them through using the DermLite to take and upload photos.

Physicians of participants received an at-a-glance clinical reference with full-color images of skin abnormalities, data about survivors’ increased risk of skin cancer, and password information for accessing provider-only content on the study website. The print materials are also available for download by participants and physicians on the study website.

Several months after the study launched, HCC worked with the ASK study team to develop an ASK Study newsletter for participants, to affirm the value of their participation and the importance of completing their 12- and 18-month surveys. The format of the initial newsletter, published in March 2016, will be used for subsequent issues. HCC worked with the study team to plan the contents of each newsletter, draft content, and develop at-a-glance graphics that continue to convey the following key messages:

  • This is an important study
  • We on the study team are real people who care, and we thank you for working with us
  • Your participation is valuable
  • You are part of a diverse community of participants with a shared experience of survivorship