Purpose: Reducing ultraviolet radiation exposure may decrease melanoma risk in the hereditary melanoma setting. It is unknown whether genetic counseling and test reporting of CDKN2A/p16 mutation status promote long-term compliance with photoprotection recommendations, especially in unaffected mutation carriers.
Methods: This study evaluated changes 2 years following melanoma genetic testing in self-reported practice of sun protection (sunscreen, photoprotective clothing, and ultraviolet radiation avoidance) among 37 members of two CDKN2A/p16 kindreds (10 unaffected carriers, 11 affected carriers, and 16 unaffected noncarriers; response rate = 64.9% of eligible participants).
Results: Multivariate profile analysis indicated that all three participant groups reported increased daily routine practice of sun protection 2 years following melanoma genetic testing (P < 0.02), with 96.9% reporting that at least one sun protection behavior was part of their daily routine, up from 78.1% at baseline (P < 0.015). Unaffected carriers (P < 0.024) and unaffected noncarriers (P < 0.027) reported significantly more frequent use of photoprotective clothing. Affected carriers maintained adherence to all sun protection behaviors. Reported sunburns in the past 6 months decreased significantly (P < 0.018).
Conclusion: Members of high-risk families reported increased daily routine sun protection and decreased sunburns 2 years following melanoma genetic testing, with no net decline in sun protection following negative test results. Thus, genetic testing and counseling may motivate sustained improvements in prevention behaviors.