Knowledge, attitude, practice and perception on sunscreen and skin cancer among doctors and pharmacists

Med J Malaysia. 2021 Mar;76(2):212-217.


Introduction: Excessive ultraviolet light (UV) can cause premature skin aging and potentially skin cancer. Currently there is a lack of awareness among health care professionals and the public on sun protection. The objectives of this study were to determine knowledge on sunscreen and skin cancer among health care professionals, to evaluate the knowledge, attitude, practice and perception of doctors and pharmacists toward the usage of sunscreen as protection against UV radiation.

Materials and methods: This is a cross-sectional study conducted among doctors and pharmacists in Hospital Sultanah Nora Ismail, Batu Pahat, Johor, Malaysia. Questionnaires were used in this study.

Results: A total of 384 participants completed the questionnaires. The participants consisted of 323 doctors (84.1%) and 61 pharmacists (15.9%). The age group of the participants ranged between 25 till 55 years old. Ninety doctors (27.9%) and thirty-one pharmacists (51.0%) reported used sunscreen daily (p<0.001). This finding showed that there was a deficit in the practice of sun protection. Pharmacists scored a higher knowledge score of median 12 (IQR=3.0) while the doctors scored 11 (IQR=2.0). This study showed a significant association between ethnicity and skin cancer knowledge (p<0.05).

Conclusion: This study demonstrated a lack of knowledge of sunscreen and skin cancer prevention among health care practitioners. This finding supports better medical education program on this topic.