Risk-Awareness of Cutaneous Malignancies among Rural Populations

John Moore, Dan Zelen, Imran Hafeez, Apar Kishor Ganti, James Beal, Anil Potti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The prevention of skin cancer relies not only on the knowledge of the risks of ultraviolet rays, but also on the appropriate measures to minimize solar exposure. We conducted a questionnaire-based survey among a rural population to evaluate perceptions regarding (i) sun-related behaviors, (ii) measures taken to protect themselves, and (iii) self-skin assessment knowledge. Questions included data on patients' knowledge of deleterious effects of sun exposure, their habits and perceptions about adequate protection, their knowledge of a suspicious cutaneous lesion, and if a physician had spoken to them about the risks of ultraviolet/solar exposure. One hundred and six adults (38 males and 68 females) seen in a primary care clinic were enrolled in our study. Of these, only 38.7% of our patients were concerned about their risk of cutaneous malignancies. On analysis of the sun-protection variables, we found an increased use of tanning beds among women and an increased use of hats in men. Interestingly, we also found that only 18% of respondents used sunscreen when anticipating sun exposure. With suspicious skin lesions, color of the lesion appeared to be the most concerning factor for the subjects, with increasing size being the second most likely factor of concern. Only 11.3% of respondents had a physician-performed skin assessment and only 19.8% performed self-skin assessments at least yearly. There seems to be a lack of appropriate knowledge regarding precancerous and cancerous skin lesions among rural communities. Increased patient education is urgently necessary in rural populations to decrease the growing incidence of cutaneous malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-373
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Awareness
  • Rural population
  • Skin cancer
  • Solar exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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