Conflict of interest None declared.
Knowledge, perceptions and behaviours about skin cancer and sun protection among secondary school students from Central Italy
Version of Record online: 20 FEB 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology © 2012 European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
Volume 27, Issue 5, pages 571–579, May 2013
How to Cite
Suppa, M., Cazzaniga, S., Fargnoli, M.C., Naldi, L. and Peris, K. (2013), Knowledge, perceptions and behaviours about skin cancer and sun protection among secondary school students from Central Italy. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 27: 571–579. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2012.04484.x
Funding sources None declared.
- Issue online: 10 APR 2013
- Version of Record online: 20 FEB 2012
- Received: 22 July 2011; Accepted: 27 January 2012
Background Although sun exposure is a strong risk factor for skin cancer, tanning is very popular among adolescents. Awareness of skin cancer and sun exposure might influence sun protective behaviours in this population.
Objectives To investigate the awareness of skin cancer and sun-safe practices among Italian adolescents.
Methods A questionnaire about knowledge of skin cancer, perceived severity of sun rays/skin cancer and behaviour toward sun protection was administered to 1204 secondary school students. Predictors of these three components were assessed by case-control analyses considering different combinations of answers. Multiple logistic regression models were used to this scope.
Results The majority of participants had heard of skin cancer in the past (97.0%), correctly identified possible causes (58.6%) and names (64.2%) of skin cancers and judged appropriately the perceived danger of sunrays (70.2%) and skin cancer (80.6%). Nonetheless, students’ behaviour was poor: only 13.5% stated to always use sun-safe practices and 39.1% never used any. Independent predictors of proper knowledge were: Lyceum school, and family or TV/media as information source; of appropriate perceived severity: Lyceum school, a darker skin type, and dermatologists as information source; of acceptable behaviour: female sex, a darker skin type, and dermatologists or general practitioners (GPs) as information source.
Conclusions Despite a fairly good knowledge about skin cancer and sun exposure, students’ behaviour was unsatisfactory. Knowledge is not sufficient to produce a positive behaviour, as determinants of these two aspects are different. Dermatologists and GPs should be considered as key-figures for future multicomponent intervention strategies in this field.