Survey Reveals Need to Reach Broader Populations for Skin Cancer Prevention Programs

According to a study by investigators from the George Washington University Cancer Center, sun safety practices for attendees at skin cancer screening events differ from the general public.
Investigators randomly administered a survey to attendees of a free skin cancer screening event at the cancer center and found that respondents from this group were significantly more likely to always wear sunscreen, always seek shade, and always or sometimes use sun protection than the public group.
According to these data, the investigators believe that patients who do not attend free screenings may have greater gaps in sun protective knowledge and behavior. This gap highlights the need to reach these populations through different mechanisms, such as education and policy approaches in primary and outdoor recreation settings, according to the study authors.
The survey also identified differences in patients based on age and race. White participants in the study were found more likely to always or sometimes wear sunscreen and sun-protective clothing and had reported more blistering sunburns than non-white participants.
Furthermore, indoor tanning use was greater in white patients and was equal among the screening and general public groups, indicating that all patients need to be educated on indoor tanning risks, according to the researchers.
The study authors noted that the findings highlight the importance of reaching non-white and younger populations with skin cancer prevention messages. Furthermore, although free screening events are important, comprehensive, community-based solutions should be used to reach broader demographic populations than skin screenings alone.
  1. Study Highlights Need for Tailored Skin Cancer Prevention Programs [news release]. Published July 9, 2019. Accessed July 10, 2019.

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