Dermatology Daily Reports Some Melanoma Survivors Not Protecting Themselves From Sun Exposure

April 9, 2013

Study: Some Melanoma Survivors Not Protecting Themselves From Sun Exposure.

Research indicating some melanoma survivors may not be taking steps to protect themselves from sun exposure received a substantial amount of coverage, particularly online, as well as on one of last night's national news broadcasts. Many of the reports focus on the findings that about a quarter of these individuals eschew sunscreen, and some even continue to use tanning beds.

NBC Nightly News (4/8, story 9, 0:30, Williams) reported on "staggering new research from Yale University that says sun worshippers have a tough time staying away even when they have survived a bout with skin cancer."

USA Today (4/9, Painter) reports, "More than a quarter of people who have had melanoma say they never use sunscreen, according to the study presented at" the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. The researchers found that "even greater numbers eschew hats and long sleeves, and 2% admit they have used a tanning bed in the last year."

The Houston Chronicle (4/9) "Health Zone" blog reports that investigators "evaluated data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey, an annual, cross-sectional survey of the civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States that asks questions on a wide range of health topics." The researchers "focused on data collected on self-reported history of melanoma, sun protection practices and indoor tanning." Of the more than 27,000 "adults, 171 had a prior history of melanoma."

The New York Daily News (4/9, Murray) reports, "Overall, skin cancer survivors were more cautious when it came to suncare. They were more likely to seek shade and wear hats when in the sun."

NBC News (4/9, James) reports on its website, however, that "15.4 percent of melanoma sufferers reported rarely or never staying in the shade, while 27.3 percent said they never used sunscreen. Among the general public, 35.4 percent reported never using sun protection." The researchers also found that "2.1 percent of melanoma survivors even said they had used a tanning bed in the previous year, compared to 5.5 percent of the general public."

FOX News (4/9) reports on its website, "According to a statement by lead author Dr. Anees Chagpar, of Yale University, the data was mind blowing."

The CNN (4/9) "The Chart" blog reports, "Study authors believe dermatologists need to stress to their patients the dangers of exposure to the sun and tanning bed rays." Physicians "should make strong pleas to melanoma patients to use sun protection and avoid artificial tanning because melanoma can recur and lead to bigger problems." However, "investigators say the bigger question is: Are patients listening?"

The Los Angeles Times (4/9, Kaplan) "Booster Shots" blog points out that "the biggest risk factor for melanoma is exposure to UV rays, either from sunlight or artificial sources such as tanning lamps," and individuals "who have been treated for melanoma should know this better than anyone." Also covering the story are the Daily Mail (UK) (4/9, Peppers), HealthDay (4/9, Norton), MedPage Today (4/9, Laino), and Medscape (4/9, Mulcahy).