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Multiple skin cancer risk behaviors are common among US adults
Date:1/7/2008

Whether youre basking on the beach during vacation, coasting down glittering white snow on a weekend ski trip, or simply walking the dog or running errands, sunlights ultraviolet rays can damage your skin year-round. Yet a new study by behavioral researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center shows that most American adults engage in multiple behaviors that boost their risk of skin cancer by increasing their exposure to UV rays.

These behaviors include infrequent use of sun-protective clothing; staying outside in the sun rather than seeking shade; infrequent use of sunscreen with a sun-protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more; indoor tanning with a sunlamp or tanning bed within the past year; and getting sunburned within the past year.

Collectively, skin cancer of all types is the most common cancer in the United States and the incidence has increased over the past three decades. During 2007, an estimated 1.1 million Americans received a diagnosis of basal- or squamous-cell skin cancer or the more invasive, potentially lethal melanoma, according to the American Cancer Society.

Heredity plays an important role in skin cancer. For example, a typical portrait of someone at risk of skin cancer would show a natural blonde or redhead with very fair skin that freckles and burns more easily than it tans. Melanoma, in particular, is known to run in certain families.

However, overexposure to ultraviolet lightsomething controlled by behavioris a major factor in increased skin cancer risk, noted Fox Chase psychologist Elliot Coups, Ph.D., an assistant member in the psycho-oncology program at Fox Chase and lead author of the new study. The report appears Jan. 8 in the online edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and in the February 2008 issue of the print edition.

The Fox Chase researchers found that younger adults were particularly likely to engage in multiple behaviors that increase skin cancer risk. Men, Caucasians
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Contact: Karen Mallet
Karen.Mallet@fccc.edu
414-312-7085
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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