Sunscreen education is needed for all ages

It’s no secret the central role dermatologists play in educating their patients about skin cancer prevention, but data presented at the 2022 American College of Mohs Surgery Annual Meeting in Philadelphia remind that this education is important for all patients, regardless of their medical condition. age or gender.1

Researchers at the University of Mississippi Medical Center reported a set of 311 patients, most of whom were male and had an average age of 64, who had been diagnosed with keratinocyte carcinomas and their awareness and attitudes towards sunscreen.

About two-fifths of patients surveyed said they ‘never or rarely’ applied sunscreen when in the sun for more than 15 minutes.

“Bivariate analysis showed a statistically significant negative correlation between age and sunscreen use (r = -.174, P = 0.002),” the researchers noted, with women being more likely than men to use sunscreen.

A recently published study of Frontiers in public healthnoted some important counseling techniques for patients who may be reluctant to use sunscreen or have a different perspective on sun exposure; encourage patience during counselling; understand that different people in different occupations may have different attitudes towards sunscreen, for example, lifeguards who enjoy being outdoors and may not be as concerned about the dangers of sun exposure as a person practicing another profession; and encouraging doctors to counsel patients on what sunscreen really is, noting that patients may not be aware of the risk of melanoma on skin normally covered by clothing or hair.2

The good news from both this study and the data from the conference is that dermatologists can tell the difference.

“Increased number of visits to a dermatologist or skin surgeon was associated with higher sunscreen use (r = 0.146, P = 0.011),” the University of Mississippi researchers noted in their abstract. “After controlling for relevant covariates, the results of the regression analysis showed that knowledge of sunscreens (β = .925, P β = 0.418, P


1. Pearlman R, Black W, Davis RE, et al. Sunscreen awareness, attitudes, and practices in patients with a history of keratinocytic carcinoma: a single-institution survey study. Abstract presented at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American College of Mohs Surgery, held May 12-15, 2022 in Philadelphia, PA.

2. Keurentjes AJ, Kezic S, Rustemeyer T, Hulshof CTJ, van der Molen HF. Stimulation of sunscreen use among outdoor construction workers: a pilot study. Public Health Front. 2022;10:857553. Published April 1, 2022. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2022.857553

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