Skin cancer prevention campaign aimed at beachgoers on the Costa del Sol (southern Spain)

Authors


  • Conflicts of interest: None.
  • Pioneering experience developed on a tourist area of the southern Europe that provides revealing data for future health promotion interventions for skin cancer prevention.

Abstract

Background

Sunbathing on the beach is one of the main risks for skin cancer.

Objective

In the summer of 2010, a skin cancer prevention campaign aimed at beachgoers was undertaken on the western Costa del Sol (southern Spain).

Methods

The campaign took place on beaches during July and August. A multicomponent intervention was conducted by a dermatologist and other healthcare professionals, including: (1) interviews about risk factors and sun protection habits; (2) full skin examination using dermoscopy; (3) health advice plus educational brochure; (4) sunscreen workshop plus free samples; and (5) survey about satisfaction and behavioral intentions. A journalism and health prize was offered to encourage mass media coverage.

Results

Four hundred and seven beachgoers (56% tourists) were recruited during the campaign, mean age 45 years. Most of the participants reported high-risk sun exposure and revealed high rates of clinically suspicious lesions of skin cancer (8.1%), melanoma (2.9%), actinic keratosis (10.2%), and atypical nevus (7.6%). The campaign was highly appreciated by the participants and followed not only by local but also regional and national media.

Conclusion

Beachgoers are a strategic target to prevent skin cancer. Beaches are also suitable places to develop a skin cancer prevention campaign, allowing direct access to the high-risk population for surveying, health behavior education, and screening. Several keys may be useful to optimize results as the design of a personalized intervention of proven efficacy, provision of a trained healthcare team, and development of an attractive strategy for the mass media.

Ancillary