Sunbathing and Sun-protection Behaviors and Attitudes of Young Swedish Adults With Hereditary Risk for Malignant Melanoma


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Abstract

The aim of the study was to describe attitudes toward sunbathing and sun protection, to examine sun-related behaviors, and to present an effort to change sun-related behaviors among young adults without a cancer diagnosis in melanoma-prone families. Ten patients were interviewed, and questionnaires were sent on 3 occasions during a 15-month period to the total population (n = 87) meeting the inclusion criteria. Data from interviews and questionnaires showed extensive ultraviolet-exposure behaviors in this high-risk group for melanoma, although not always expressed in terms of sunbathing. When asked about sunbathing, 1/3 reported sunbathing “Often” or “Very often,” despite a decrease in sunbathing during the study period. In addition, 35% reported current sun bed use. The most important reason for sunbathing was attractiveness. The risk of getting skin cancer was the most important reason to refrain from sunbathing. The majority estimated their own risk for melanoma as equal or lower compared with the general population. The planned intervention failed due to low attendance. Ultraviolet exposure is extensive. The individual perception of personal risk and the motivation to change behaviors are important factors to consider when designing a preventive program. Interest for group information was low in this age group.

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