208674 Knowledge about health effects of sun exposure, and attitude and intention to screen for skin cancer: Findings from the Pennsylvania Cancer Education Network

Monday, November 9, 2009: 12:35 PM

Longjian Liu, MD, PhD, MSc , Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Jamiliyah Gilliam , Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Kathleen Zitka , Pennsylvania Department of Health, Harrisburg, PA
Charlotte Greenawalt , Pennsylvania Department of Health, Harrisburg, PA
Lisa Ulmer, MSW, ScD , Department of Community Health and Prevention, School of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Objective: Skin cancer is reaching epidemic status, with 2 to 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 malignant melanomas occurring globally each year. However, skin cancer is preventable by limiting exposure to UV radiation and early screening.

Methods: This analysis is based on data collected from 690 adults participating in statewide skin cancer education sessions. Using a cross-sectional pretest-posttest design, we evaluated participants' knowledge (K), attitudes about skin cancer (A), and intention to screen (I) before and after a 45 minute health education session that builds trust, discusses health information, and encourages action.

Results: The education sessions had a significant proximal impact on subjects' KAI status. Average knowledge scores on limiting exposure to UV radiation significantly increased (4.58 vs. 4.70, p<0.01), average attitude scores indicating that screening is embarrassing or painful significantly decreased (2.79 vs. 2.60, p<0.001) and intention to screen score significantly increased (3.84 vs. 4.01, p<0.001) between the pretest and posttest. The favorable increases in knowledge and intend to screen scores, and decrease in attitude scores were observed across White, Black and Hispanic groups. Participants with higher education levels had higher favorable scores after controlling for age, gender and race/ethnicity in multiple regression models, (p<0.001).

Conclusion: The proximal results of the PCEN skin cancer education program suggest that action-oriented participatory health education may be a sucessful model for addressing the growing global skin cancer epidemic.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the importance of educating the population about reducing risk for skin cancer. 2. Examine the proximal impact of statewide skin cancer education controlling for age, gender, and race/ethnicity. 3. Apply epidemiological methods to other chronic disease screening and prevention settings

Keywords: Cancer Prevention, Epidemiology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Physician Scientist specializing in chronic disease epidemiology; Epidemiologist with Pennsylvania Cancer Education Network
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.