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Beliefs and Practices Regarding Skin Cancer Prevention

Shelestak, Deb; Lindow, Karol

Journal of the Dermatology Nurses' Association: May-June 2011 - Volume 3 - Issue 3 - p 150-155
doi: 10.1097/JDN.0b013e31821f3f43
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ABSTRACT The incidence of skin cancer is increasing throughout the world. If detected early, skin cancer is readily treated and cured. It is important to recognize and assess lesions so that treatment can be initiated. It is also important for individuals to be aware of and practice measures to prevent the development of skin cancer. The purpose of this study was to examine the knowledge and beliefs regarding skin cancer and preventative measures. A questionnaire based on the Health Belief Model was developed to measure these perceptions. Overall reliability of the questionnaire was acceptable (Chronbach's α = .87). Four components (susceptibility, motivation, awareness, and seriousness) were measured and compared. Three of the factors had similar means, which ranged from 3.6 to 3.8. The fourth factor (susceptibility) had a much lower mean of 2.9, which suggests that, although participants were aware of the seriousness of skin cancer, they do not necessarily believe they are at risk. Responses to other questions point to an awareness of the seriousness of melanoma and the effects of UVA and UVB rays. Other statements indicate a need for further teaching regarding use of sunscreen, recognition of changes in moles, and use of tanning beds.

Deb Shelestak, PhD, RN, Department of Nursing, Kent State University.

Karol Lindow, MSN, RN, CNS, Department of Nursing, Kent State University.

The authors wish to acknowledge the assistance of the Dermatology Nurses Association' Research Committee in conducting this study. This study was funded, in part, by the Ortho Dermatologics grant from the Dermatology Nurses' Association.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Deb Shelestak, PhD, RN, Department of Nursing, Kent State University, 6000 Frank Avenue NW, North Canton, OH 44720-7548. E-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.