Training Program to Raise Consciousness Among Adolescents for Protection Against Skin Cancer through Performance of Skin Self Examination


Background: Overexposure to sunlight in childhood and the adolescent period and associsated sunburnssignificantly increase the risk of skin cancer in adulthood. In Turkey, the incidence of skin cancer in the generalpopulation is 0.8%. The incidence is 0.6% and the mortality rate is 0.4% for men, while these rates are 1.0%and 0.7%, respectively, for women. If skin cancer is found early, its treatment is facilitated. Therefore, personalskin examination is important for early diagnosis.
Objectives: Our aim was to determine the effects of trainingfor raising consciousness among adolescents to protect against skin cancer by influencing skin self examinationbehavior.
Method: This quasi experimental intervention study was conducted between February and April 2012 inIzmir. The study population consisted of students attending 6th, 7th and 8th classes of a primary school (n:302). Nosampling was performed. Data were collected with a form developed by the researchers based on the literature.The first part of form is aimed to determine demographic characteristics of adolescents (3 questions) and theirrisk status of skin cancer (6 questions). The second part was prepared for skin cancer risks of adolescents (8questions) and indications of skin cancer (12 questions). The last part was intended to determine their knowledgeabout skin self examination (4 questions) and behavioral stages of skin self examination (1 question). Datacollection was achieved with a questionnaire form in three phases. In the 1st phase, data about demographiccharacteristics of students, risk status of skin cancer, knowledge level of skin cancer and behavior stages werecollected. In the 2nd phase, skin self examination training based on the transtheoretical model was performedwithin the same day just after obtaining preliminary data. In the 3rd phase, adolescents were followed up threetimes to establish the efficacy of the training (on the 15th day after training program and at end of the 1st and2nd months). Follow-up data were evaluated by questioning skin self examination performing behavior stagesthrough electronic mail.
Results: Half of the adolescents (50.5%) are male, and 58.4% of them are 13 yearsold with a mean age of 12±1.15 years. About 29.4% of adolescents had brown hair color, 37.9% had brown/hazel eye color, 29.4% had white skin, and 47.2% had fewer than 10 moles in their body. The pretest meanscore on knowledge level about risks of skin cancer was found to be 4.19±1.96, while the post-test mean scorewas 6.79±1.67 (min:0, max:8).The pretest mean score about indications of skin cancer was 7.45±3.76, while thepost-test mean score was 10.7±2.60 (min:0, max:12). The increases were statistically significant (p<0.05). Thebehavior “I do not perform skin self examination regularly in every month and I do not think to perform it inthe next 6 months” was reduced from 52.8 to 35.5% after training.
Conclusion: The training program organizedto raise consciousness among adolescents for protection against skin cancer increased the knowledge level aboutrisks and indications of skin cancer and it also improved the behavior of performing skin self examination.