Skin cancer awareness and sun protection behaviors in white hispanic and white non-hispanic high school students in Miami, Florida

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Objective: To examine skin cancer awareness and behavior in white Hispanic (WH) and white non-Hispanic (WNH) high school students because increasing incidence and delayed diagnosis of skin cancer in the growing Hispanic population in the United States represent an emerging health issue. Design: Pilot survey study. Setting: A high school in Miami, Florida. Participants: A total of 369 high school students (221 WHs and 148 WNHs) were surveyed in the study. Main Outcome Measures: Survey data were collected regarding skin cancer knowledge, perceived risk, and sun protection behaviors. Differences between the 2 groups were compared with χ2 tests. Results: White Hispanic students were more likely to tan deeply (P=.04) but less likely to have heard of (P < .01) or been told how to perform (P < .01) skin self-examination. White Hispanics were less likely to wear sun-protective clothing or to use sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher and reported a greater use of tanning beds. White Hispanic students also thought their chance of developing skin cancer was less than that of WNH students (P < .01), which remained significant after adjustment for age, sex, family history, and skin sensitivity to sun. After adjustment, WHs were 2.5 times more likely than WNHs to have used a tanning bed in the past year. White Hispanics were also 60% less likely to have heard of skin self-examination (P < .01) and 70% less likely than WNHs to have ever been told to perform the examination (P=.03). White Hispanics are about 1.8 and 2 times more likely to never or rarely wear protective clothing (P < .01) and to use sunscreen (P=.01), respectively. Conclusion: There are disparities in knowledge, perceived risk of skin cancer, and sun-protective behaviors among WH and WNH high school students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)983-988
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Dermatology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology

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