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Skin Cancer Prevention Measures Among Hispanic Individuals in Florida and Puerto Rico

By: Sarah Lynch
Posted: Thursday, February 1, 2024

Researchers aimed to investigate cancer prevention behaviors and other variables among nearly 1,000 Hispanic participants from Tampa, Florida, and Ponce, Puerto Rico within a skin cancer prevention trial. They determined a need for more awareness targeted to this population regarding protective and preventive behaviors for skin cancer. These findings were reported in the journal BMC Public Health.

“Overall, our results reflect previous literature demonstrating high rates of experiencing sunburns among Hispanics and low prevalence of routine sun protection behaviors,” stated Peter A. Kanetsky, PhD, MPH, of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, Tampa, and colleagues. “U.S. Hispanics and Puerto Ricans do not engage routinely in primary preventative behaviors and have higher-than-expected frequency of experiencing sunburn in the past year despite being considered to be at low risk for sunburns.”

Of 974 participants who consented to the study, 944 (96.9%) completed baseline questionnaire A, including 497 participants from Tampa and 447 participants from Puerto Rico. Questionnaire A collected such information as age; sex; marital status; educational level; family history of melanoma, skin cancer, and other cancers; paid/unpaid work outdoors; and health literacy as well as skin cancer prevention activities. A total of 795 participants (84.2%) completed supplemental questionnaire B (in the clinic, at home, or online). The mean patient age was 45.7 years, and 70.4% were female.

Overall, the participants reported low levels of intentional tanning; however, only a small percentage practiced sun-protective behaviors, and about 30% had experienced a sunburn within the previous year. English-preferring Tampa residents represented the highest proportion of those who had been sunburned, the study authors noted, but they also had higher protective behavior occurrences than Spanish-preferring Tampa residents or those from Puerto Rico. Spanish-preferring Puerto Rican participants had higher recent levels of concern about skin cancer, chances of developing skin cancer, and response efficacy.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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