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16-08-2018 | Skin cancer | News | Article

Brief dermatologist-delivered intervention may improve sun protection behavior

medwireNews: The Addressing Behavior Change (ABC) intervention, which can be delivered by dermatologists in less than 3 minutes, is associated with improvements in people’s sun protection behavior that last several months, findings indicate.

Among the 77 individuals who received the ABC intervention, self-reported sunscreen use on the face rose from 67% at baseline to 78% at the 1-month follow-up and 79% at 3 months, whereas it declined from 73% at baseline to 70% and 69% at 1 and 3 months, respectively, in the 82 participants who received usual care. The between-group differences during follow-up were significant.

Similar results were observed for sunscreen use on the body, which increased by 12 percentage points at 3 months in the intervention group and decreased by 1 percentage point in the control group, and for sunscreen reapplication, which rose by 15 percentage points and remained stable, respectively.

The dermatologist-delivered intervention was also associated with a significantly lower rate of sunburn at the 1-month mark, reported by 18% of participants versus 35% of those who received usual care, but by 3 months, the difference ceased to be statistically significant.

“Given the increasing rates of skin cancers and associated costs, modest increases in sun protection behavior on a large scale are potentially meaningful,” the authors remark.

As reported by Kimberly Mallett (The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA) and team, the ABC intervention consists of six components targeting sun risk and protective behaviors, and is designed to be delivered during a skin examination “so that it does not add time to the visit but rather replaces customary knowledge-focused conversations about sun protection.”

This study was conducted at two sites, one of which was designated the intervention site and the other was the control; participants aged 21–65 years received the ABC intervention or usual care depending on the site location of their dermatologist during late spring or early summer.

“For most individuals who use sunscreen, but perhaps not regularly or not properly, the ABC intervention helped them resolve specific barriers to improve their use of sun protection (eg, forgetting to use or reapply sunscreen),” the researchers comment in JAMA Dermatology.

“Owing to the nature of the behavior, patients will not likely need as many iterations to experience some positive change.”

They continue: “Alternatively, the outcomes could increase over time if patients are exposed to the ABC intervention during subsequent office visits.”

The study investigators recommend that future research should incorporate “a more diverse caregiver population that includes residents, attending dermatologists, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners,” and examine sun protection behavior over a longer follow-up and in different seasons and environments.

By Shreeya Nanda

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2018 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature group

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