Research Highlights
Jennifer M. Salsberg

Journal of the Dermatology Nurses' Association
December 2010 
Volume 2  Number 6
Pages 279 - 280
  PDF Version Available!

Zahnd WE, Goldfarb J, Scaife SL, & Francis ML. (2010). Rural-urban differences in behaviors to prevent skin cancer: An analysis of the Health Information National Trends Survey. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 62(6), 950-956.As the incidence of skin cancer continues to rise, there is increasing interest in examining different methods of skin cancer prevention. It is well understood that the use of preventive behaviors such as sunscreen use, sun avoidance, and wearing long sleeves and hats can decrease an individual's risk of developing skin cancer. It has been shown that a diagnosis of skin cancer and presentation with late-stage cancer is more prevalent among older, male, unmarried, less educated and uninsured patients and among smokers. These characteristics are more likely to be found in individuals living in rural populations. The goal of this study was to determine whether rural residents are less likely to use sunscreen and engage in other skin cancer preventive measures.Authors of this study analyzed the 2005 Health Information National Trends Survey, examining the use of sunscreen as well as other sun-related behaviors of 5586 participants. A telephone survey was conducted, and participants were asked questions regarding their behaviors when outside for an hour or longer on a warm, sunny day. They were also asked about baseline characteristics and any personal or family history of skin cancer. Results of the study demonstrated that rural residents were 33% less likely to use sunscreen; however, after adjusting for baseline characteristics such as age, race, income, education, health insurance, smoking, sex, marital status, and region, the rural individuals were just as likely to use sunscreen as their urban counterparts. Although individuals in a rural setting are also less likely to stay in the shade, they were more likely to wear a hat and long sleeves. Individuals with a personal history of skin cancer in both rural and urban environments

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