Background: It is important to develop an understanding of what the public knows about skin cancer and what sun safety precautions they are taking. Research on the evaluation of skin cancer education targeting adults is minimal. Aim: To assess the knowledge and behavior related to skin cancer and sun exposure, and to determine if an informal interaction between dermatologists and the public could promote skin cancer awareness and precautions. Methods: In May 2000, a dermatologist-staffed educational booth was set up at an Indianapolis Indians baseball game. Attendees were educated through discussions and handouts. Attendees completed a self-administered questionnaire prior to this interaction and a mailed follow-up questionnaire in August 2000. Results: One hundred and thirty-six attendees participated in May, and 60 completed the second questionnaire in August. The May results revealed that 92% believed that sun exposure caused skin cancer; 37% used sunscreens "sometimes" and 29% "never". There was a significant decrease in the number of hours spent outdoors per week during the summer of 2000 compared to 1999. Conclusions: Frequent and unprotected sun exposure occurs despite awareness of the adverse effects. Although the number of subjects in our study was small, informal education at public events has the potential to influence behavior.
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