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Less Than Half of Melanoma Survivors Regularly Use Sunscreen

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Melanoma survivors are more likely to regularly use sunscreen, when compared with individuals who have never had cancer, but only 46.2% of survivors report frequent use, according to a new study published online.

Among 156 melanoma survivors who took part in the 2005 and 2007 Health Information National Trends Survey, 25% reported always using sunscreen and 21.2% reported often using sunscreen when outdoors for more than an hour on a warm, sunny day. Frequent use among those who reported never having cancer (n = 11,408) was 32.4% (14.5% always/17.9% often), reported Deborah Mayer, Ph.D., and her associates at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

The rate of frequent use of protective clothing was 70.5% among melanoma survivors and 65.8% for cancer-free control subjects. Frequent use of shade was 41% for melanoma survivors and 35.5% for controls (J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 2012;66;e9-10).

"Given the high risk for new skin cancers, one would expect higher adherence," wrote Dr. Mayer and her associates, who noted that "10 melanoma survivors reported using tanning beds after their cancer diagnosis."

The study was supported by the National Cancer Institute. The investigators did not report any conflicts of interest.

Note: 2005 and 2007 Health Information National Trends Survey data.

Source: J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 2012;66;e9-10

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