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ABSTRACT: Ultraviolet light exposure has a pathogenic effect on the development of skin cancer, whose prevalence increases worldwide. In Chile and the rest of the world, preventive educational campaigns are carried out to change high risk sun exposure behaviors.
To study the behavior of the Chilean population towards skin cancer prevention and to identify erroneous preventive practices and concepts.
A survey containing 17 questions about sun exposure behaviors, photoprotective measures and knowledge about ultraviolet radiation and skin cancer was used. It was applied during January and February 2004, to 1,143 subjects (mean age 30 years, 409 males), taking vacations in beach resorts in Chile.
The hours of higher sun exposure ranged from 12 AM to 4 PM. Thirty seven percent of subjects were exposed more than 2 hours during this high risk lapse. Women and subjects aged less than 25 years were those with the riskiest behaviors. Fifty four percent used some type of photoprotection and 50% used ocular protection. Seventy percent used creams with sun screen and 74% used a sun protection factor higher than 15. Seventy percent applied the sun screen as recommended. Thirty eight percent had at least one sun burn in the last two years. More than 90% of subjects were aware of the relationship between sun exposure and skin cancer but 60% did not know the hours of higher ultraviolet radiation. The information about sun exposure was obtained from television in 57% of surveyed individuals.
More educational campaigns about the risk of sun exposure are needed to reduce risky behaviors in the Chilean population.
Revista medica de Chile 07/2005; 133(6):662-6. · 0.30 Impact Factor