Study shows how program improves sun protection practices among children of melanoma survivors

October 4, 2013, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Children of melanoma survivors were more likely to wear hats and re-apply sunscreen after receiving a multi-media informational program designed specifically for them. These new findings were included in research published in the journal of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention – a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research.

A team of researchers led by Ellen R. Gritz, Ph.D., and Mary Tripp, Ph.D., M.P.H., both researchers of Behavioral Science at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, conducted a randomized trial to determine if a program for melanoma survivors and their was more effective than standard educational materials available to the general public.

"This country is expecting more than 76,000 new cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin , to be diagnosed this year," said Tripp. "Similar to tobacco education, sun protection education is also critical, especially in the early stages of life."

The researchers sought to determine whether a sun protection intervention would impact melanoma survivors' attitudes and beliefs related to their children's sun protection, decrease children's sunburns and increase children's sun protection. More than 2,000 potential candidates from the MD Anderson patient registry were screened for study eligibility with 340 melanoma survivors – with age appropriate children – participating in the trial.

"This study is the first to examine a sun protection intervention for children of melanoma survivors," said Gritz, who is also the chair of Behavioral Science at MD Anderson. "This is significant in that the risk for children of melanoma survivors is almost doubled because of possible shared genotypic and phenotypic factors." Genetic factors are inherited traits including fair skin or light eye color, whereas phenotypic factors involve behavioral and development traits.

The study randomized melanoma survivors into two groups: one receiving standard educational materials consisting of health-related brochures on sun protection, physical activity and nutrition, and one receiving the sun protection intervention. This group received print booklets and a DVD featuring melanoma survivors. Materials presented survivors' personal stories and motivations for protecting their children from the sun, and showed how survivors and their families practice sun protection.

Melanoma survivors completed telephone interviews at baseline and at one month and four months after intervention.

Overall, the intervention increased sunscreen reapplication and the use of wide-brimmed hats in the children. "This is an important finding because children typically use less sunscreen than is recommended and reapplication improves sun protection," said Tripp. The results indicated the greatest effect on sunscreen behavior was in survivors who had children younger than 8 years old. Tripp also noted that few interventions directed to parents have increased children's protective hat-wearing behavior.

"This study provides a valuable starting point for future research needed to develop interventions to increase sun protection in children who are at a higher risk for developing melanoma," said Tripp.

Explore further: Some melanoma survivors still use tanning beds, skip sunscreen

Related Stories

Some melanoma survivors still use tanning beds, skip sunscreen

April 9, 2013
Although most survivors of melanoma take precautions to protect their skin from the sun and further occurrences of cancer, data presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2013, held in Washington, D.C., April 6-10, revealed that ...

Three-year, 676-child trial shows effectiveness of low-cost intervention to improve sun protection

September 24, 2012
A blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence more than doubles the adult risk of skin cancer. The accumulation of long-term sun exposure may be equally dangerous. A study from the Colorado School of Public Health ...

Melanoma rates rising in US children

April 3, 2013
(HealthDay)—Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, doesn't usually occur in kids, but a new study shows that it's happening more often.

Skin cancer patients not avoiding sun, study suggests

October 2, 2013
(HealthDay)—Some people with melanoma aren't cautious about sun exposure, a small new study suggests, even though ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is a major cause of skin cancer.

Parents' skin cancer concern doesn't keep kids inside

September 6, 2012
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 ...

Docs rarely discuss sunscreens with patients, study finds

September 5, 2013
(HealthDay)—Even if you've suffered skin cancer in the past, it's unlikely your doctor will mention sunscreen during the average office visit, a new study finds.

Recommended for you

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

Researchers develop swallowable test to detect pre-cancerous Barrett's esophagus

January 17, 2018
Investigators at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center have developed a simple, swallowable test for early detection of Barrett's esophagus that offers promise ...

Scientists zoom in to watch DNA code being read

January 17, 2018
Scientists have unveiled incredible images of how the DNA code is read and interpreted—revealing new detail about one of the fundamental processes of life.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.