Partnering with massage therapists to communicate information on reducing the risk of skin cancer among clients: Longitudinal study

Lois Loescher, Kelly Heslin, Graciela Silva, Myra Muramoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Skin cancer affects millions of Americans and is an important focus of disease prevention efforts. Partnering with non-health care practitioners such as massage therapists (MTs) can reduce the risk of skin cancer. MTs see clients' skin on a regular basis, which can allow MTs to initiate "helping conversations" (ie, brief behavioral interventions aimed at reducing the risk of skin cancer). Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate (1) the feasibility of recruiting, enrolling, and retaining Arizona MTs in an online electronic training (e-training) and (2) the preliminary efficacy of e-training on knowledge, attitudes/beliefs, and practice of risk reduction for skin cancer. We explored MTs' ability to assess suspicious skin lesions. Methods: We adapted the existing educational content on skin cancer for applicability to MTs and strategies from previous research on helping conversations. We assessed the feasibility of providing such e-training, using Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) tools for data capture. We assessed the preliminary efficacy using established self-report surveys at baseline, immediately post training, and at 3 and 6 months post training. Results: A total of 95 participants enrolled in the study, of which 77% (73/95) completed the assessments at 6 months (overall attrition=23%). Project satisfaction and e-training acceptability were high. Knowledge, personal behaviors (skin self-examination, clinical skin examination, sun protection frequency), and practice attitudes (appropriateness and comfort with client-focused communication) of risk reduction for skin cancer improved significantly and were sustained throughout the study. Conclusions: The e-training was feasible and could be delivered online successfully to MTs. Participants were highly satisfied with and accepting of the e-training. As such, e-training has potential as an intervention in larger trials with MTs for reducing the risk of skin cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere21309
JournalJMIR Formative Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Cancer prevention
  • E-training
  • Electronic intervention
  • Massage therapists
  • Skin cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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