PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractBackground: Skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in the United States despite being preventable in many cases. A major risk factor is excessive ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure. University-aged students are especially important to reach for prevention due to the increasing melanoma rates in people under 30 and lower use of sun safe behaviors. This project, in collaboration with the Skin Cancer Institute, sought to understand current understanding and practices of sun safety among University of Arizona (UA) students. Methods: An online survey was developed to ask students about their demographic characteristics, personal history of skin cancer and skin characteristics, perceptions, and behaviors related to sun safety. The survey was designed to take 5-10 minutes to complete. Recruitment of students in UA residence halls occurred through posters, emails, and referrals containing the survey link during Fall semester of the 2020 academic year. The research design and materials were approved by the UA Institutional Review Board. Results: A total of 530 students answered the survey from 21 residence halls. Personal history had almost no correlation to perception and behaviors. Gender and race had some effects on perception and behavior. Almost 63% of students reported that being tan made them feel more attractive with little variation between genders. While almost 90% of students agreed that they have access to sunscreen when they wish to use it, only 35.8% of students agreed they applied sunscreen while outside. Over 46% of respondents reported having at least 1 red and painful sunburn in the past 3 months. Discussion: Students had knowledge of sun safety but did not actively partake in sun safe behaviors. Additionally, university students are difficult to reach for survey completion and healthy lifestyle changes. In the future, interventions should focus on not only teaching students about sun safety, but how to effectively promote sun safe behaviors.
Degree ProgramPublic Health