Background: Sun and ultraviolet radiation exposure are major risk factors for skin cancer, and sun-protective behaviors and skin cancer examinations are means of primary prevention of skin cancer. The objective of this study was to evaluate the extent to which demographics and other high-risk behaviors may predict the reported level of participation in sun-protection behaviors and skin cancer primary prevention in the United States adult population.
Methods: Data on reported sun-protection behaviors and skin cancer examinations were obtained from surveys completed by adults in the 1998 National Health Interview Survey. Univariate and multivariate data analyses were performed using specialized statistics software.
Results: For the United States adult population surveyed (n = 32,440), only 21% of those surveyed indicated that they had ever had a skin cancer examination, and, of those, only 45% indicated that the skin cancer examination was within the past year. For sun-protective behaviors, only 23%, 27%, and 30% of those surveyed reported that they were very likely to wear protective clothing, stay in the shade, and use sunscreen, respectively.
Conclusions: The likelihood of participation in sun-protective behaviors and skin cancer prevention was related to a number of demographic characteristics and high-risk behaviors, including currently smoking cigarettes and wearing seatbelts.
Copyright 2001 American Cancer Society.