Sun exposure and protection behaviors among long-term melanoma survivors and population controls

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Abstract

Introduction: Melanoma is considered a generally preventable cancer, with excessive ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure being a strong causal factor. UVR exposure following a melanoma diagnosis can be modified to reduce risk of second primary melanomas. The goal of this study was to compare measures of UVR exposure and protection behaviors between long-term melanoma survivors and controls. Methods: Participants from a previously conducted case-control study were recruited for a cross-sectional survey. Melanoma cases were 25 to 59 years old at diagnosis; controls were age and sex matched. Participants were asked about UVR exposure and protection measures used in the past year, and comparisons between melanoma survivors and controls were conducted using logistic regression models, adjusting for potential confounders. Results: A total of 724 (62.0%) long-term melanoma survivors and 660 (59.9%) controls completed the follow-up survey. Melanoma survivors were significantly less likely to report high sun exposure on a typical weekday [OR, 0.72 (0.55-0.94)], sunburns [OR, 0.40 (0.30-0.53)], or indoor tanning [OR, 0.20 (0.09-0.44)] than controls; however, high sun exposure on a typical weekend day was similar. Report of optimal sun protection behaviors was higher in melanoma survivors compared with controls. However, a few melanoma survivors reported indoor tanning, 10% reported intentionally seeking sun to tan, and 20% reported sunburns. Conclusions: Although long-term melanoma survivors reported healthier UVR exposure and protection behaviors compared with controls, a sizeable proportion still reported elevated sun exposure, sunburns, and suboptimal UVR protection behaviors. Impact: Opportunities remain for improving sun protection to reduce future melanoma risk among melanoma survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-613
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2017

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