Prevalence and correlates of sun protection and skin self-examination practices among cutaneous malignant melanoma survivors

J Behav Med. 2006 Oct;29(5):419-34. doi: 10.1007/s10865-006-9064-5. Epub 2006 Jul 20.


Little is known about the level of engagement and correlates of sun protection and skin self-exam among individuals diagnosed with melanoma. Participants (N = 229) completed measures of skin self-exam and sun protection practice and knowledge and attitudes. Approximately eighty-four percent of patients reported engaging in skin self-examination at least once in the past year. Engagement in sun protection practices was moderate. Self-exam practice was associated with gender, physician recommendation about self-exam, and perceived benefits and barriers of self-exam. Sun protection was associated with gender, age, medical status and health care access, physician recommendation, knowledge, and a number of psychological factors. Behavioral interventions to improve skin surveillance and sun protection may benefit from an emphasis on physician education regarding self-exam and sun protection, education regarding the efficacy of sunscreen and the risks associated with sunbathing, reducing perceived barriers to self-exam and sun protection, and reducing reliance on social influences on sun protection practices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Heliotherapy / adverse effects
  • Heliotherapy / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / epidemiology
  • Melanoma / prevention & control
  • Melanoma / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / epidemiology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / prevention & control
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / psychology
  • Patient Compliance / psychology
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Self-Examination / psychology*
  • Self-Examination / statistics & numerical data
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Skin Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Skin*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Sunscreening Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data


  • Sunscreening Agents