Parents' skin cancer concern doesn't keep kids inside

Credit: Flickr/WisconsinDepartmentofNaturalResources

Pick your poison: sun exposure that leads to skin cancer or low physical activity that leads to obesity? In fact, a University of Colorado Cancer Center study published this week in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease shows that parents' concern about skin cancer doesn't make them keep their kids indoors.

"Actually, our was the opposite – that if parents were concerned about they wouldn't let their children go out as much," says Alexander Tran, summer fellow working with Lori , PhD, CU Cancer Center investigator and chair of the Department of Community & Behavioral Health at the Colorado School of Public Health.

The study used data from a 999 child cohort of 8-9 year olds from within the group known as the Colorado Kids Sun Care Program, a research program ongoing since 1998. Phone interviews determined parents' level of concern about melanoma, asking questions including "How serious do you think melanoma is?" and "How easy or hard is it for doctors to treat a typical case of melanoma?" Parents were also asked how many hours per day their children spend outside and physical examinations determined kids' body mass indices (BMIs). Tran and Crane controlled for possible confounding factors including race, skin color and socioeconomic status.

"Our new hypothesis is that maybe we had the relationship reversed," Tran says. "Perhaps instead of higher melanoma concern leading to staying inside, it's the parents of kids who spend the most time outside who are most concerned about skin cancer. This is a good finding: it suggests that children can get plenty of outdoor and prevent skin cancer by using good sun protection measures such as wearing a hat and shirt, and applying sunscreen."

"Some studies generate more questions than answers," Tran says. Further study within the Colorado Kids Sun Care Program will explore the interrelationships between skin cancer awareness, sun protection behaviors, outdoor play, and obesity.

More information: www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2012/11_0345.htm

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

UV photographs of 12-year-olds show skin cancer risk

Mar 28, 2012

Look at a middle school assembly – during their lifetime one in 50 of these kids will develop melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer that kills 48,000 people every year, worldwide. Now look at these kids again ...

Relatives of melanoma patients ignore their skin cancer risk

Feb 21, 2011

It is well known that sunbathing increases the risk of skin cancer and that this risk is increased in people with a family history of melanoma. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Public He ...

Preventing the skin cancer, not just the sunburn

Mar 14, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- With the first day of spring just one week away, anyone who spends time in the sun should be aware of new sunscreen regulations designed to help prevent skin cancer.

Skin cancer increasingly common in teens and young adults

May 07, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- With summer just around the corner, pediatricians at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center are sounding the alarm on a disturbing trend: A growing number of teenagers and young adults diagnosed with skin ...

Recommended for you

Unraveling the 'black ribbon' around lung cancer

8 hours ago

It's not uncommon these days to find a colored ribbon representing a disease. A pink ribbon is well known to signify breast cancer. But what color ribbon does one think of with lung cancer?

User comments