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How Sun Smart is Your City?

Posted: May 17, 2010

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Similarly, residents of Salt Lake City, Denver and Hartford all scored better than the national average when they disagreed with the statement that they are not too concerned about skin cancer because it is easily detected and treated. Overall, 76% of respondents nationwide disagreed with this statement, while 85% of respondents from Salt Lake City disagreed.

“While skin cancer can be successfully treated if detected early, the five-year survival rate for individuals with regional and distant stage melanomas are 65% and 16%, respectively. That’s why people must be vigilant about protecting their skin from sun exposure and aware of the early warning signs of skin cancer,” said Dr. James.

However, when examining skin cancer detection behaviors, nationally 59% of respondents had never been screened for skin cancer by a health-care provider. Respondents from Pittsburgh and Chicago fared even worse, with 69% of Pittsburgh respondents and 67% from Chicago admitting they had never had an examination. On the other hand, 48% of Hartford residents had never undergone a skin examination.

Despite dermatologists’ repeated warnings about the dangers of tanning, James added that respondents in last-place Pittsburgh scored significantly worse than the overall average when asked if people look more attractive with a tan. Specifically, 81% of Pittsburgh respondents agreed with this statement compared to 72% of the general public.

“We’re hoping the results of this survey will draw attention to the public’s need to change its attitudes toward tanning, which is the first step in changing behavior,” said James. “Our data show that most people are concerned about skin cancer, but they still need to modify their attitudes, behavior and knowledge to reduce their risk.”