Sun exposure behavior and protection practices in a Mediterranean population: a questionnaire-based study

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Skin cancer campaigns have only recently been implemented in a wide scale in Greece. In order to better target those individuals at risk, we aimed to explore sun exposure behaviors in a sample of the Greek population.


A total of 802 subjects, randomly selected among the residents of the two largest Greek cities, underwent a questionnaire-based telephone interview, assessing the degree of sun exposure patterns and knowledge of skin cancer risk factors.


Females more commonly (90%) used sunscreens compared with males (67.5%), and among sunscreen users, only 8% used products with SPF <10. Almost half of the participants (48%) preferred going to the beach during the midday hours. Over exposure to the sun was mostly reported by individuals with phototypes III/IV and of younger age (18–35 years). Most participants were aware of sun exposure as a cause of skin cancer, but among those who did not, 41% were younger than 34 years of age.


In our survey, significant differences in age, sex and phototypes were observed with regard to sun exposure patterns and sunscreen use. Educational campaigns should focus more on younger age groups, encouraging a more complete set of photoprotective measures. However, potential trial limitations inherent in self-reported measures should be taken into account.

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