Sun-Safety Education in Female Adolescents: Exploring Relationships between Education and Future Sun Safe Practices

Bilek, Rachel
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Skin cancer is the most common occurring form of cancer in the United States; 1 in 5 develop skin cancer by the age of 70 (Centers for Disease Control, [CDC] 2017). The American Cancer Society (2017) states exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight and tanning bed lamps increase the risk of skin cancer development. UV exposure is a modifiable lifestyle behavior; the problem is the need for health curriculum aimed at skin cancer prevention behaviors and sun safe guidelines for the school-aged child. The quasi-experimental pre and post-test design explored how a nurse-led SunWise safety presentation effected adolescence girls age 16-17 on sun-safe behaviors. Developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (2016), the SunWise program included avoidance of sunburns and tanning beds, wearing sun protective clothing, and checking the UV outdoor index for increased risk of harm to minimize UV exposure. Pender’s health promotion model conceptually aligned the study, focusing on the adolescent’s future ability to apply sun safety to personal behavior changes. The two-tailed t-test analysis (n = 8) calculated a statistically significant t-score at the alpha level of .05 = 6.148. Study recommendations include expanding the sun safe education to reach children much younger within school health curriculums. Future research recommendations include longitudinal studies on the effectiveness of sun safe educational practices on the development of skin cancer over a patient’s life-time.
adolescent sun safety, skin cancer, ultraviolet (UV) exposure