<--GAT-->

Veterans with Skin Cancer Lacked Awareness of Personal Risks

by U.S. Medicine

December 4, 2015

SAN ANTONIO — Veterans with skin cancer might not be as aware of the dangers of sun exposure or the necessity for skin protection as they should be.

In a study published recently in Military Medicine, researchers from the Audie L. Murphy Veterans’ Hospital and the University of Texas Health Science Center, both in San Antonio, sought to determine veterans’ perceptions of skin cancer and the types of prevention strategies that might reach that population.1

To do that, the study team conducted a telephone survey of 100 veterans who had been diagnosed with skin cancer at the VAMC.

Must of the respondents said their skin cancer resulted from sun exposure and that they knew that the best way to prevent skin cancer was to use sunscreen.

When asked if they believed they were at risk for being diagnosed with skin cancer, however, most veterans responded that they had thought they were at little risk and didn’t think skin cancer would happen to them.

The study found a statistically significant increase in usage of sunscreen and sun protectant garments after being diagnosed with skin cancer and educated by their physicians.

In fact, doctors talking to patients was rated as the most effective communication method to inform them about the risks of skin cancer, followed by education during basic training.

“Our results reveal poor patient awareness of the risks of skin cancer and the benefits of sun protection before their diagnosis,” study authors wrote, noting that “veterans agreed that the physician-patient interaction is the best and most effective means of communication, which is evident by the significant increase in sun protection and sunscreen usage after their diagnosis.”

Other effective communication strategies revealed by the survey included sun protection education in basic training, the use of a veteran spokesmodel with skin cancer, and the use of images to emphasize the severity of the disease.

1 Fisher V, Lee D, McGrath J, Krejci-Manwaring J. Veterans Speak Up: Current Warnings on Skin Cancer Miss the Target, Suggestions for Improvement. Mil Med. 2015 Aug;180(8):892-7. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-14-00318. PubMed PMID: 26226533.


Related Articles

Hypoglycemia Common in Hospice Patients Continuing Insulin Treatment

BOSTON—Clinical guidelines recommend relaxing glycemic control target levels for patients with diabetes and advanced disease and eventual discontinuation of medications as patients near death to avoid hypoglycemia. A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine... View Article

VA Study Shows Kidney Disease Ups Diabetes Risk

LOUIS—For years, research has shown that patients with diabetes have an increased risk of kidney disease. But what about the reverse? A new study published in the journal Kidney International provides evidence that kidney dysfunction... View Article


U.S. Medicine Recommends


More From dermatology

Dermatology

Living With a Mystery Disease: One Woman’s Story

At 31, Susan Thornton developed an itchy rash around her waist.

Dermatology

Soft Tissue Infections in Military Trainees

Military trainees are at high risk for skin and soft-tissue infections (SSTIs) but, while Staphylococcus aureus is associated with purulent SSTI, it is unclear to what degree this pathogen causes nonpurulent cellulitis.

Dermatology

Types of Skin Lesions Referred by PCPs at VA

MINNEAPOLIS—Skin lesions sent to dermatology by primary care physicians (PCPs) represent a significant proportion of VA healthcare visits, according to a new study.

Dermatology

VHA Costs to Treat Keratinocyte Carcinoma

Keratinocyte carcinoma (KC) is by far the most common cancer in the United States, with basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas accounting for about 80% and 20% of cases of KC, respectively.

Dermatology

Scarce Sun Protection in Iraq, Afghanistan Put Troops at Risk

Master Sgt. Darryl Sterling, 332nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron equipment manager, tosses unserviceable uniform items into a burn pit in Balad, Iraq, in 2008. (Photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter) WASHINGTON, DC — The potential... View Article

Facebook Comment

Subscribe to U.S. Medicine Print Magazine

U.S. Medicine is mailed free each month to physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and administrators working for Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and U.S. Public Health Service.

Subscribe Now

Receive Our Email Newsletter

Stay informed about federal medical news, clinical updates and reports on government topics for the federal healthcare professional.

Sign Up