Correlates of sun protection behaviors in racially and ethnically diverse U.S. adults.

Mar 5, 2019

The Skin Cancer Communication Project focuses on understanding indoor tanning in young women and outdoor sun exposure and protection in 18-49 year-old adults. Researchers at Penn surveyed a racially diverse group to determine how they view skin cancer prevention methods.

Trends in skin cancer diagnosis and survival among minority populations, coupled with low prevalence of engagement in sun protection behaviors, underscore the importance of efforts to promote primary prevention of skin cancer among people of color.

What is already known on this topic?

Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in the United States, affecting more than 3.5 million people. Skin cancer incidence rates have increased dramatically in recent years and rates of melanoma and non-melamona skin cancer are highest among non-Hispanic Whites. However, skin cancer has also increased among people of color and there is higher morbidity and mortality among these groups. Most skin cancers are preventable with consistent use of effective sun protection strategies, including application of broad-spectrum sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, seeking shade, and avoiding indoor tanning. Nevertheless, sun protection behaviors are inadequately practiced. Studies have found that minority populations, particularly Hispanics and Blacks, do not use recommended skin cancer prevention strategies routinely. People of color tend to be less knowledgeable about skin cancer risks and prevention compared to non-Hispanic Whites, which may contribute to poor adherence to prevention strategies. Additionally, public health education efforts and interventions to promote sun protection behaviors focus mainly on non-Hispanic White populations.

What does this article add?

A national survey of 1554 individuals explored the beliefs and habits of sun protection among adults. Respondents were eligible to participate in the survey if they were: (1) 18–65 years old; (2) resided in the United States; and (3) were able to complete the survey in English.
Public health education efforts on skin cancer and interventions to promote skin cancer prevention primarily target non-Hispanic White populations. Limited public health education and interventions on skin cancer prevention targeted at minority populations may play a role in perpetuating discouraging trends in skin cancer diagnoses and prognoses among people of color. As skin cancer incidence is on the rise, we have an important opportunity to advance skin cancer prevention efforts in a highly diverse population.

What are the implications for health promotion practice or research?

This study provides important insight into the practice and predictors of skin cancer prevention among minority populations and suggests that targeting skin cancer prevention efforts, such as targeting sunscreen use messaging to groups which were less likely to use sunscreen, including Blacks with less education, Hispanics with lower income, and Asian men. Further investigation of the correlates of sun protection among minority populations may be needed to guide targeted public health interventions.

Read the publication here:

Calderón TA, Bleakley A, Jordan AB, Lazovich D, Glanz K. Correlates of sun protection behaviors in racially and ethnically diverse U.S. adults
Prevention Medicine Reports. 2018 Dec 28;13:346-353