University of Colorado Cancer Center recently published a study on parent's growing concerns and their children. Even though parents are concerned about their child getting skin cancer, the worry does not keep their children indoors. In fact, it is the opposite! The CU Cancer Center tried to understand parents' concerns on this subject. Such questions were asked over the phone: "How serious do you think melanoma is?" and "How easy or hard is it for doctors to treat a typical case of melanoma?" Parents were also asked how many hours per day their children spend outside and physical examinations determined kids' body mass indices (BMIs).
"Our new hypothesis is that maybe we had the relationship reversed," says Alexander Tran, summer fellow working with Lori Crane, PhD, CU Cancer Center investigator and chair of the Department of Community & Behavioral Health at the Colorado School of Public Health. "Perhaps instead of higher melanoma concern leading to staying inside, it's the parents of kids who spend the most time outside who are most concerned about skin cancer. This is a good finding — it suggests that children can get plenty of outdoor physical activity and prevent skin cancer by using good sun protection measures such as wearing a hat and shirt, and applying sunscreen." Further studies will be exploring obesity and skin cancer awareness, outdoor play and sun protection behaviors.