Tim Brunson DCH

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Skin Cancer: Knowledge, Behaviors, and Attitudes of College Students.

OBJECTIVES: Knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of college students regarding melanoma and skin protection were examined.

METHODS: We surveyed 492 students at a mid-sized southern university. The Melanoma Risk Behavior Survey was administered in lecture classes.

RESULTS: Mean knowledge score was 10.6 +/- 3.8 (24 questions). A majority of participants knew that sun exposure increases the risk for skin cancer; however, only 29% correctly identified behaviors that reduce this risk. Mean attitude score was 5.26 +/- 2.73 (11 questions). Sixty-nine percent agreed that all people should take precautions against skin cancer; however, only 51% believed they themselves should practice sun safe behaviors. Mean behavior score was 1.29 +/- 1.22 (9 possible). Only 3.1% reported avoiding the sun during peak hours, and only 5.1% regularly use sunscreen when exposed to the sun.

CONCLUSION: Campus programs for increasing awareness of skin cancer risk are warranted. Changing attitudes and behaviors regarding exposure and protective measures is increasingly important.

Spradlin K, Bass M, Hyman W, Keathley R. South Med J. 2010 Sep 2. From the Department of Health and Kinesiology, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX; and Health, Exercise Science, and Recreation Management, The University of Mississippi, University, MS.

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