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Study finds less than a third consistently use even one form of sun protection

-- Jane Parry

Friday, February 5, 2010 (Last Updated: 02/08/2010)

FRIDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Many African-Americans are not protecting their skin from sun damage, with less than a third always using even one form of sun protection, according to a study published online Feb. 2 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Using an anonymous health survey to ascertain to what extent they used sunscreen, sunglasses or a wide-brimmed hat to protect their skin from the sun, Latrice C. Pichon, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a randomized study of 2,187 African-Americans aged 18 to 95 years and living in California.

Only 667 (approximately 31 percent) reported always using one or more sun protection measures, with women three to six times more likely than men to report using sunscreen, the researchers found, while women were 45 percent less likely than men to report using wide-brimmed hats. Sunscreen use was the least-used protective measure -- 63 percent of respondents reported never using it -- with income and educational level associated with use.

"Because cultural factors have been demonstrated to contribute significantly to a variety of cancer-related behaviors among African-Americans, they may also contribute to sun-protection behaviors," the authors write. "Assessing these potential psycho-social factors and probable cultural factors could highlight barriers to sun-protection behaviors and inform interventions."

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Specialties Oncology
OBGYN & Women's Health
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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