People With a History of Skin Cancer Lack Knowledge On Sun Protection

By Rob Dillard - Last Updated: May 25, 2023

People who have been treated for skin cancer or pre-cancerous lesions demonstrate better knowledge and behaviors regarding the need for photoprotection compared to the general public, but their overall awareness in this area is still lacking, according to a study being presented at the 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.

In this study, Dr. Brigitte Dreno and colleagues conducted an online survey in 17 countries from September 28-October 18, 2021, consisting of 1,372 individuals (54% men, average age ~50) with a history of melanoma/non-melanoma skin cancer, or pre-cancerous lesions.

Notably, the analysis found that:

  • 79% of individuals knew that sun protection is useful when the weather is overcast, a better knowledge compared to the general population (61%).
  • However, 34% of responders indicated it was safe to expose themselves without protection when already tanned, a larger misconception compared to the general population (23%), the researchers noted.
  • 54% did not understand the difference between UVA and UVB vs 70% in the general population.

“Although individuals who have been treated for skin cancer or pre-cancerous lesions had better knowledge and behavioral attitudes compared to the general population, this survey shows that even a population at high risk of melanoma and having a regular medical follow-up does not sufficiently perceive the importance of photoprotection in a prevention objective,” the researchers concluded. They added the results should prompt the “implementation of new information tools with more impact.”

Source: Dreno B, Passeron T, Puig S, et al. Sun exposure and associated risks: Insight from an international survey with a focus on the population with past medical history of skin cancers. Abstract #e21575. Published for the 2023 ASCO Annual Meeting; June 2-5, 2023, Chicago, IL.

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