Although most commonly used for social communication, text messaging has been used in skin cancer prevention with positive behaviour changes as discovered by Miss Linda Finch and colleagues at the Queensland University of Technology, Cancer Council Queensland, and the University of Queensland. Miss Finch is the lead author of the paper ‘User preferences for text message-delivered skin cancer prevention and early detection’ in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare.
This study examined the user experience and acceptability of text messages designed to improve sun protection or skin cancer early detection behaviours in young adults (18 to 42 years) with the Healthy Text health promotion program.
Participants reported that the messages were easy to understand (98%), provided good suggestions or ideas (88%), and were encouraging (86%) and informative (85%). The timing of the texts was received positively (92%); however, some suggestions for frequency or time of day the messages were received from 8% of participants. Text messages about skin cancer prevention and early detection are novel and acceptable to induce behaviour change in young adults.
Miss Finch is currently managing and working on a range of research projects in skin cancer prevention with the iHop research group.