Primary Prevention of Skin Cancer in Children and Adolescents: A Review of the Literature

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Although skin cancer is an easily preventable disease, self-directed prevention behaviors in children are difficult to achieve. The purpose of this article is to evaluate the status of primary prevention interventions and identify gaps in national and international research in order to make suggestions for further intervention design. A comprehensive search of MEDLINE, CINAHL, and PSYCHinfo databases was conducted to collect published research used in this review. The most effective interventions used multi-component curricula administered over an extended period of time. Younger children were more receptive to interventions than were older children, who had stronger attitudes against sun-protective behaviors. Interventions in Australia have been more successful than interventions in North America and Europe. Further research needs to be conducted to create primary prevention interventions that address informational gaps. Specifically testing the dose and effect of individual educational components and bundling of components with reliable and valid outcome measures would help health care researchers define and measure the most effective way to battle social norms and attitudes of children and sun exposure.

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