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Prevention of Skin Cancer Through Sun Exposure Education in Welsh Primary Schools

By: Justine Landin, PhD
Posted: Monday, July 11, 2022

Educating elementary school students about the dangers of sun exposure may help prevent future skin cancer developments, according to a study proposal named “Sunproofed” by Julie Peconi, MD, of Swansea University Medical School, Wales, and colleagues. This suggested study seeks to determine whether educational sun safety policies may reduce cases of preventable skin cancer in primary schools. Although England mandates this type of sun safety education, it is not required as curriculum in Wales. The proposed study guidelines were published in the journal PLOS One.

“There is strong evidence that reducing sun exposure in children can help prevent skin cancer in later life, so an urgent shift from treatment to prevention is needed. Education in schools can be a crucial way to achieve this. Our study is an essential first step, as it will give us a picture of the current situation in Wales and what can be done to improve it,” stated Dr. Peconi in a Swansea University press release.

The proposed study intends to monitor and implement educational programs centered around sun exposure in Welsh primary schools (n = ~1,225). To begin, the investigators will learn whether sun education is a component within select primary schools and identify weaknesses within these protocols. Surveys and electronic health record data will be used to identify sunburn incidences in primary school students. These data will help to determine an association between sun-safe behavior and prevalence of sun safety policies. Lastly, the authors propose to supply guidelines of sun safety measures to primary schools and disseminate these findings to the scientific community and the general public.

The authors concluded: “One of the outcomes of our study will be for participants to work together to write an action plan for schools. This will help schools to start using sun safe policies, keeping more children safe from skin cancer in later life.”

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.


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