Can skin cancer prevention be improved through mobile technology interventions? A systematic review

Linda Finch, Monika Janda, Lois J. Loescher, Elke Hacker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Objective Print-based health promotion interventions are being phased out to bring forth more appealing and assessable new technology applications. This review aimed to evaluate the current literature on the use of mobile text messaging and similar electronic technology interventions in the area of skin cancer prevention. Method A search of studies guided by Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) was conducted on mobile technology interventions for improving skin cancer prevention in the electronic databases PubMed, MEDLINE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), and PsycINFO. Results Overall, 136 articles were screened for eligibility between 2001 (earliest relevant article found) and November 2015. Eight studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria and were reviewed according to the PRISMA guidelines. Of these, five were randomised controlled trials (RCTs), two were controlled clinical trials, and one was a cohort study. Five studies used text messages as an intervention, two used mobile phone applications, and another used electronic messages via email. All studies resulted in self-reported behaviour change in at least one of their outcome measures (e.g., sunscreen application, seeking shade). Conclusion While the behaviour change outcomes are promising, the lack of change in more objective measures such as sunburn indicates a need to further improve mobile phone technology-delivered interventions in order to have a greater impact on skin cancer prevention. Future studies may consider the use of objective outcome measures (e.g., sunscreen weight), electronic diaries, or behavioural outcomes in social networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-132
Number of pages12
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Cell phones
  • Mobile applications
  • Prevention
  • Skin cancer
  • Text messaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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