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New Research Groups People into Sun Care Classifications
Posted: November 20, 2008
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Vacationers should know that "you can get out on the beach, you just have to do protective things—sit in the shade when you have lunch, wear sun-protective clothing and a hat when you are taking a walk on the beach," she said.
The Australian classification system is useful because, "if you want to intervene in a setting where you see people tanning, it is important to know their different reasons for being exposed to the sun," said Sherry L. Pagoto, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and co-author of an accompanying editorial in the journal.
Pagoto and her colleagues did a similar study of beach-goers several years age, she said, which found that "the largest class of people are very motivated to be tanned. They are well aware of the risk of skin cancer—both their actual risk and perception of risk is somewhat elevated. But they don't use sunscreen to an adequate level," Pagoto said.
"A great challenge" in skin cancer prevention is that "people really want to be tanned," she said. "It is a conundrum, how to get people not to want to be tanned." Given that feeling, "the only way to get them out of the sun is to use alternatives and understand what it is about being tanned that makes them feel good," Pagoto said.
Skin cancer prevention measures should include not only education, but also "a change of the environment around beaches," said Vilma Cokkinides, strategic director of risk factor surveillance for the American Cancer Society. "We need more shade and to make point-of-source information available, if people forget their sunscreen, for example," Cokkinides said. "Also, we need signage around beaches telling people to be aware of the hours of greatest risk. I haven't been to any beach that I recall and seen anything of that sort available."