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    Skin Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Prevention - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Description of the Evidence


    Nevertheless, studies of intervention strategies for reducing UV radiation exposure suggest that the best approach is education about the risks associated with sun exposure and sunburn and education about sun-protection strategies.[43,44] In one study, an educational intervention at the time of treatment for skin cancer-a time when an individual may have heightened awareness of his or her susceptibility to skin cancer-seemed to have the greatest effect.[43] However, even in such a high-risk group, it was difficult for many individuals to maintain sun-protective behaviors. In a community skin cancer screening study, researchers found that, although regular use of sunscreens was not related to personal or family history of skin cancer, it was more common among persons who perceived themselves to be at moderate or high risk of developing melanoma.[44]

    Sun-protective strategies may include avoiding sun exposure at times of the day when the exposure is more intense and wearing clothing that protects skin from sun exposure. Self-examination for skin-pigmentary characteristics associated with melanoma (e.g., freckling status) may be a useful way to identify individuals at an increased risk of developing melanoma.[45] Skin type (propensity to burn after sun exposure and tanning ability), alone or with other physical characteristics, such as hair color, has been used as a measure of sun sensitivity in epidemiologic studies.[46]

    In summary, a number of randomized trials and other studies have suggested that counseling or health information may have an effect on sun- or UV-protective behaviors. However, in addition to lack of information on health outcomes and relatively short follow-up times, most of the studies suffer from important methodologic problems, including the possibility of self-reporting inaccuracy, high study attrition rates, and lack of information about sustainability of the interventions.


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    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
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