A Survey-Based Comparison of Sun Safety Practices in a Representative Cohort of the General Public Versus Attendees of a Skin Cancer Screening

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of drugs in dermatology : JDD






A large proportion of data on photoprotective practices is yielded from free skin cancer screenings. However, the sun safety practices of populations who seek these skin cancer screenings may differ from the general public. To examine differences in skin cancer prevention practices and risk factors, we surveyed pedestrians at six locations in Washington, DC (public group, n=285) and attendees of a free skin cancer screening (screening group, n=144) using an IRB-approved survey. The screening group was older and included more individuals with fair skin than the public group. Respondents from the screening group were significantly more likely to always wear sunscreen, always seeks shade, and always or sometimes wear sun-protective clothing than the public group (P<0.05). To examine whether younger and non-white participants, who were less likely to attend our free screening, have different practices and risk factors than older and white participants, respectively, we compared survey answers for all participants by age and race. White participants were more likely to always or sometimes wear sunscreen and sun-protective clothing than non-white participants (P<0.05). Patients over 61 years were more likely to always seek shade and wear sun-protective clothing than those younger than 31 years (P<0.05). Therefore, free skin cancer screenings need to be better popularized among non-white and younger populations or more effective educational vehicles are needed. J Drugs Dermatol. 2019;18(7):649-653.

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