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Skin Cancer Surgery Prompts Better Sun Habits

People more likely to protect themselves from UV rays after procedure

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- People who've had surgery to remove skin cancer are more likely to protect themselves from the sun than they were before their surgery.

That newfound common sense is detailed in a study in the February issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology.

Medical College of Wisconsin researchers studied whether there was a change in quality of life for 121 people after they had surgery to remove nonmelanoma skin cancer and whether those individuals changed their sun-protection habits and other risky behaviors, such as smoking, after their surgery.

The people were surveyed a month after surgery and again at four months.

The study found that, overall, there was little change in the people's general quality of life after surgery, but there was a significant improvement in their mental and emotional health. Many people started taking steps to protect themselves from the sun, such as using sunscreen and wearing hats. But there wasn't much change in their smoking habits.

Forty-nine percent of those surveyed had used sunscreen before surgery, and 72 percent used sunscreen one month after surgery. The number of people wearing hats outside increased from 67 percent before surgery to 74 percent after surgery, and those avoiding the sun increased from 20 percent to 44 percent.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on how to protect your skin from the sun.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Feb. 16, 2004
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