HealthDay News — According to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a sizeable proportion of melanoma survivors still report elevated sun exposure, sunburns and suboptimal ultraviolet radiation protection behaviors.

The new findings were based on a survey of 724 melanoma survivors and 660 adults the same age with no history of the disease. On average, the survivors had been diagnosed 10 years earlier, when they were between the ages of 25 and 59.

The researchers found that most survivors were more vigilant about sun protection compared to the control group. But three-quarters (74.8%) of survivors said they typically spent at least 2 hours in the summer sun on weekend days. 

Furthermore, 38.1% said they usually did not wear sunscreen when they were outside in the summer. Less than half (48.1%) said they typically tried to stay in the shade.

Overall, 19.5% of survivors said they’d had a sunburn in the past year, while 10.4% said they’d sunbathed with the aim of getting a tan.

“Although long-term melanoma survivors reported healthier ultraviolet radiation exposure and protection behaviors compared with controls, a sizeable proportion still reported elevated sun exposure, sunburns, and suboptimal ultraviolet radiation protection behaviors,” the authors write. “Opportunities remain for improving sun protection to reduce future melanoma risk among melanoma survivors.”

Reference

Vogel RI, et al. “Sun Exposure And Protection Behaviors Among Long-Term Melanoma Survivors And Population Controls”. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention. 2017. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-16-0854 [Epub ahead of print]

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