Teenage Boys Least Likely to Practice Sun Protection

Teenage boys care less about sun
protection than their female peers
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This may explain why studies cite middle-age and older men with higher rates of skin cancer than any other gender or age group. Dermatologist Darrell S. Rigel, M.D., clinical professor, New York University Medical Center, presented new data on teen boys' attitudes about sun protection and why their behaviour translates into an increased risk for developing skin cancer later in life.

"Without a doubt, teenagers are always the hardest demographic to reach with any health warning,” explained Dr. Rigel. "They don't equate their bad behaviour in the present with bad things happening to them later in life as a consequence. Skin cancer is no exception.”

"While skin cancer can take years to develop, we need to reach teenage boys now to influence their behaviour and reverse this alarming trend,” Rigel said. The survey also compared the sun protection attitudes of boys and girls. "While boys are more careless, the survey found there are interesting differences between boys and girls when it comes to heeding our advice.”

When asked how careful they are about protecting their skin from the sun, older teenage boys were the least vigilant compared to younger boys and girls of all ages. Among 15- to 17-year-old boys, only 32 percent reported that they are very careful or somewhat careful about protecting their skin from sun exposure - compared to 58 percent of girls of the same age.

Across the board, both younger and older teen boys (age 12 to 17) were less cautious in the sun than teenage girls. Considerably fewer boys reported wearing protective clothing and seeking shade when outdoors for long periods of time compared to girls, and only 33 percent of boys said that they apply sunscreen when they are going to be out in the sun versus 53 percent of girls.

"Skin cancer is preventable but until teens change their behaviour, we'll continue to see skin cancer rates continue to rise in this country,” said Rigel.

MEDICA.de; Source: American Academy of Dermatology