Skin cancer patients 'not taking enough care to avoid future sunburn'

20 July 2016

People with skin cancer are often not doing enough to protect themselves from further sun damage, according to a new study.

The Johns Hopkins Medicine research indicates that a substantial number of people with a history of the most frequent kind of nonmelanoma skin cancers still get sunburned at the same rate as those without previous history of cancer.

Investigators analysed self-reported survey results about sun-protective practices from 758 people with previous nonmelanoma skin cancer and from 34,161 people without a history of skin cancer. These practices included making use of shade, long sleeves, sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats.

Although people with previous nonmelanoma skin cancer tended to use one or all of the protective practices, there was not a significant difference in reporting of sunburn compared to those without a history of cancer.

This means that although those with a history of skin cancer are proactively using protective methods, they may not be doing so effectively, especially among younger patients.

Dr Anna Chien, co-director of the cutaneous translational research programme in the department of dermatology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said: "These results suggest that physicians need to go the extra step in educating patients on the most optimal way of utilising sun protection methods. Public health messages should also emphasise not only sun protection but how to do it correctly."

Posted by Philip Briggs

 

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