Skin care behaviors among melanoma survivors

Psychooncology. 2012 Dec;21(12):1285-91. doi: 10.1002/pon.2017. Epub 2011 Jul 21.


Introduction: Clinical recommendations for survivors of melanoma generally include skin care behaviors, including regular physician and skin self-examination to identify any recurrences or second primary disease early, as well as sun protection. We measured skin care behaviors in a population-based sample of melanoma survivors.

Methods: Melanoma survivors were approached through the regional National Cancer Institute-funded cancer registry (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) and recruited to this study with a response rate of approximately 75%, for a total sample of n = 313.

Results: The sample was 99% Caucasian, 56% female, 44% male, 81% married, 62% college educated, and 48% with an income over 70 K annually, with an average age of 56 years. Over the last 7 days, a total of 45% reported wearing sunscreen, 59% reported wearing long sleeves, 80% reported wearing pants, 35% reported wearing something on the head, and 36% stayed in available shade. Skin self-examination behaviors were reported at relatively low frequencies, with only 22% performing a thorough check on skin. A total of 88% of survivors reported that their physician checked their skin in the past few years by having all clothes removed. A multivariate analysis using logistic regression indicated that perceived risk was positively related to having the skin checked by a medical provider but no other skin protection behaviors. Gender effects were also detected for wearing sunscreen and wearing a hat or scarf.

Discussion: Data indicate that melanoma survivors are performing sun protection behaviors to a moderate extent. Future studies can address barriers to consistent use of these behaviors in melanoma survivors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / epidemiology
  • Melanoma / prevention & control
  • Melanoma / psychology*
  • Melanoma / therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Protective Clothing
  • Risk Factors
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Self-Examination
  • Skin Care / methods*
  • Skin Care / psychology
  • Skin Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Skin Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sunburn / prevention & control
  • Sunscreening Agents / therapeutic use
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data
  • Telephone


  • Sunscreening Agents