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Survey reveals disparities in skin cancer knowledge, protection among high school students

  • 2.5 times as likely to have used a tanning bed in the previous year

These differences between white Hispanic and white non-Hispanic students remained significant after age, sex, sun sensitivity and family history of skin cancer were controlled for, the authors write.

Our survey indicated that a significantly lower proportion of white Hispanics than white non-Hispanics wore sun-protective clothing or used sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher, regardless of skin sensitivity to the sun, they conclude. Such gaps indicate that there is a need to include white Hispanic students in skin cancer prevention programs targeting young persons.

(Arch Dermatol. 2007;143(8):983-988. Available pre-embargo to the media at

Editors Note: This study was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health through the Redes En Accin program. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Editorial: Teen Skin-Cancer Education Should Address Appearance

Teens tan because they like the effect it has on their appearance, and showing how tanning can damage the skin has been shown to help change sun-related behavior in young people, writes Ann F. Haas, M.D., of the National Coalition for Sun Safety, Sacramento, Calif., in an accompanying editorial.

The current strategy consists of providing acceptable, healthy alternatives to tanning (highlighting the positive features of the alternatives), emphasizing the negative appearance aspects of tanning and working to change the social norms regarding the tanned-is-healthy-and-attractive message, Dr. Haas writes. The message should be sex and age appropriate and include a cross section of the adolescent community, including family, school settings, health care provider

Contact: Lisa Worley
JAMA and Archives Journals

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