One in Four Melanoma Survivors Never Wears Sunscreen

skin_cancer_treatment_tanning_booths_sun_exposure_cancer_preventionDespite being diagnosed with the deadliest form of skin cancer – melanoma – more than one-fourth of these cancer survivors never wear sunscreen.

In a presentation at the annual meeting for the American Association for Cancer Research, scientists also said that more than 2 percent of melanoma survivors use tanning beds – a known risk factor for skin cancer. The research has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal. However, it shows that people who have had skin cancer could do better to protect themselves from recurrence, according to a news release from the AACR.

“We know that melanoma is a malignancy prevalent in our population, and we know that for many people with melanoma, sun exposure is a major risk factor for recurrence and sun protection may reduce their chances of getting melanoma again,” said Dr. Anees B. Chagpar, associate professor of surgery at Yale School of Medicine, in the news release. “Although we found that melanoma survivors did better than the general public at protecting their skin from the sun, we also found that more than a quarter of melanoma survivors never wear sunscreen. That blew my mind.”

The results were culled from interviews with more than 27,000 people. Of those, 171 had a history of melanoma.

Survivors were, in general, more likely to stay out of the sun than people who had never had melanoma. However, more than 15 percent said they rarely or never stay in the shade. Twenty-seven percent said they never wear sunscreen when they go outside on a sunny day for more than an hour.

“We now know that a significant proportion of melanoma survivors still could be doing better,” Chagpar said. “This study speaks to what we could do to educate melanoma survivors on how to prevent recurrence.”

Source: American Association for Cancer Research news release

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