Public education projects in skin cancer. The evolution of skin cancer prevention education for children at a comprehensive cancer center

Lois J. Loescher, Mary Klein Buller, David B. Buller, Julia Emerson, Ann M. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. Skin cancer affects more Americans than any other type of cancer. Children are prime targets for prevention education, because sun overexposure in early childhood may affect the development of skin cancer later in life. Preventive behaviors adopted early in life may be less resistant to change than those acquired in adulthood. Thus, there is a need to educate children at an early age about sun overexposure. Methods. This article describes the evolution of skin cancer prevention research at the Arizona Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute—designated comprehensive cancer center. Research focusing on children is highlighted. Results. From its roots in the Arizona Sun Awareness Project, an informal public skin cancer education program, skin cancer prevention research at the Arizona Cancer Center has produced two developmentally appropriate, age‐based curricula aimed at teaching children about the benefits and dangers of the sun. The elementary school curriculum, Sunny Days, Healthy Ways, has undergone two tests of feasibility and is the intervention used in a large, randomized, experimental trial. The preschool curriculum, Be Sun Safe, has been tested in a randomized trial and was found to have a positive effect on preschoolers' knowledge and comprehension of sun safety. Conclusions. Educating children about skin cancer may be an important way of decreasing the incidence of skin cancer. Although informal skin cancer prevention education can be helpful, educational programs preferably should be research based and evaluated for effectiveness before public distribution. The Arizona Cancer Center experience can serve as a model for other programs. Cancer 1995;75:651‐6.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-656
Number of pages6
JournalCancer
Volume75
Issue number2 S
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 15 1995

Keywords

  • children
  • curriculum
  • health education
  • health promotion
  • school health services
  • skin neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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