Skin cancer awareness and sunscreen use among outpatients of a South African hospital: need for vigorous public education
Keywords: education, melanoma, prevention, screening, skin cancer, South Africa, sunscreen
AbstractBackground: Melanoma incidence among white South Africans is increasing. Among black individuals, melanoma is associated with advanced stage at presentation and significant mortality. Objectives: A study was undertaken to assess the perception of skin cancer risk, knowledge of skin cancer, and understanding of the importance and use of sunscreens among South Africans. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in general outpatients over four months at a large central hospital in Durban, South Africa. Results: Only half the white respondents reported regular use of a sunscreen. Among black and Indian respondents, the number was substantially lower. Less than 20% of white respondents had ever checked their skin for suspicious moles. Most black patients were not aware that they are at risk of skin cancer, and only 10% were aware of the risk of developing skin cancers on acral sites and nails. Conclusions: There is a worrying lack of knowledge about skin cancer and sun protection behaviours among all South Africans. Given the increase in melanoma incidence and racial disparities in survival rates, it is imperative to target each population with effective, culturally sensitive educational programmes. (Full text of the research articles are available online at www.medpharm.tandfonline.com/ojfp) S Afr Fam Pract 2018; DOI: 10.1080/20786190.2018.1426900
By submitting manuscripts to SAFP, authors of original articles are assigning copyright to the South African Academy of Family Physicians. Copyright of review articles are assigned to the Publisher, Medpharm Publications (Pty) Ltd, unless otherwise specified. Authors may use their own work after publication without written permission, provided they acknowledge the original source. Individuals and academic institutions may freely copy and distribute articles published in SAFP for educational and research purposes without obtaining permission.