Objective: Little is known about the effects of videotape-based education on knowledge and anxiety levels among patients with melanoma. We sought to evaluate effects of a professionally produced videotape on the knowledge and distress levels among patients with newly diagnosed melanoma. Secondarily, we sought to compare these effects with those of a traditional clinic visit. Methods: We conducted a randomized controlled trial involving 217 patients. An intervention group underwent questionnaire-based testing of melanoma knowledge and anxiety/distress levels before and after viewing an educational videotape. A control group underwent similar testing before and after a clinic visit. Results: The videotape and clinical encounter significantly increased knowledge and decreased anxiety. Improvement in knowledge levels was significantly greater after viewing the videotape compared with the clinic visit, whereas anxiety levels decreased to a greater degree after the clinical encounter. Whether or not a synergistic relationship may exist between exposure to an educational videotape and a physician visit was not specifically evaluated in this study. Conclusion: Videotape-based education may be more effective than that provided by a clinic visit, whereas the clinical encounter appears to be more effective in alleviating patient anxiety/distress.
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