Facial resurfacing treats precancerous skin lesions, may help prevent skin cancer

August 21, 2006

A program that helps parents talk to their children about skin cancer risks may promote sun-safe behaviors, especially when parents and children have a high-quality relationship, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Approximately one in six individuals will develop skin cancer during his or her lifetime, according to background information in the article. The recent increase in skin cancer incidence has been attributed to various forms of high-risk sun exposure among young people, including sunbathing, inadequate use of sunscreen and other protective measures and the use of tanning beds or lamps. Recent preventive interventions have targeted children in school or community settings, but widespread rates of dangerous behaviors persist in young people.

Rob Turrisi, Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, and colleagues evaluated a parent-based intervention and assessed family characteristics that may contribute to the effectiveness of such a program in 469 parent-child pairs. Of those, 340 were assigned to the intervention group, in which parents received a handbook that encouraged them to communicate skin cancer risks, promote safe behaviors and discourage tanning, sunbathing and other high-risk activities. The other 129 were assigned to the control group. The children were all 9 to 12 years old, in fourth through sixth grade and from southern Idaho or eastern Tennessee. Forty-five days after parents in the intervention group received the handbook, children in both groups underwent an assessment in which they were asked questions about their sun-related habits and their family dynamics.

Among children who were in the intervention group, several family variables increased the effectiveness of the program. Children in the intervention who exhibited average levels of compliance--measured by how often they reported obeying their parents or following their parents' rules--had less frequent sunburns than those in the control group, but those with above-average compliance developed even fewer sunburns. Among children who reported that their parents had a low level of monitoring--for instance, that parents do not typically know where a child is or is going--the intervention had a larger effect on sunburn severity than among those who reported that their parents monitored them closely. The quality of the parent-child relationship, the child's level of compliance and the frequency of negative communication all affected sunbathing tendencies among those in the intervention group--the program was most effective in families with a high-quality parent-child relationship, a high level of compliance and a low level of negative communication.

The findings are consistent with current theories regarding effective parenting, the authors write. "Since the intervention was parent based, it follows that if the child feels that the parent encompasses many general positive qualities (e.g., the parent is warm, loving, trusting and a good listener and shows respect for the child), the child will be more likely to listen to his or her parents about issues such as skin cancer risks," they continue. "Furthermore, if the child is willing to comply with parental demands, the parent will have more influence in encouraging sun-safe behaviors and discouraging unsafe sun-related behaviors. Also, it is important that the parent does not exhibit negative communication patterns that can negate the effectiveness of positive communication.

"Finally, when parents are already aware of their child's activities, they are more capable of making sure that their child is adequately protected from the sun, which can prevent severe burns," they conclude. "Parents can be viable change agents for child behavior and the quality of the family relationship is critical to the success of such interventions."
(Arch Dermatol. 2006;142:1009-1014. Available pre-embargo to the media at http://www.jamamedia.org.)
-end-
Editor's Note: This study was supported by a grant from the American Cancer Society to Drs. Turrisi, Hillhouse and Robinson. Dr. Robinson has served as a consultant to 3M Pharmaceuticals. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

For more information, contact JAMA/Archives Media Relations at 312/464-JAMA (5262) or e-mail mediarelations@jama-archives.org.

The JAMA Network Journals

Related Children Articles from Brightsurf:

Black and Hispanic children in the US have more severe eczema than white children
A presentation at this year's virtual American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting reveals the disparities that exist for Black and Hispanic children when it comes to Atopic Dermatitis (AD), commonly known as eczema.

Black children with cancer three times less likely to receive proton radiotherapy than White children
A retrospective analysis led by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital has found racial disparities in the use of the therapy for patients enrolled in trials.

The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health: First Europe-wide study of children confirms COVID-19 predominately causes mild disease in children and fatalities are very rare
Children with COVID-19 generally experience a mild disease and fatalities are very rare, according to a study of 582 patients from across Europe published today in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.

Children not immune to coronavirus; new study from pandemic epicenter describes severe COVID-19 response in children
- While most children infected with the novel coronavirus have mild symptoms, a subset requires hospitalization and a small number require intensive care.

How many children is enough?
Most Russians would like to have two children: a boy and a girl.

Preterm children have similar temperament to children who were institutionally deprived
A child's temperament is affected by the early stages of their life.

Only-children more likely to be obese than children with siblings
Families with multiple children tend to make more healthy eating decisions than families with a single child.

Children living in countryside outperform children living in metropolitan area in motor skills
Residential density is related to children's motor skills, engagement in outdoor play and organised sports. that Finnish children living in the countryside spent more time outdoors and had better motor skills than their age peers in the metropolitan area.

Hispanic and black children more likely to miss school due to eczema than white children
In a study that highlights racial disparities in the everyday impact of eczema, new research shows Hispanic and black children are more likely than white children to miss school due to the chronic skin disease.

Children, their parents, and health professionals often underestimate children's higher weight status
More than half of parents underestimated their children's classification as overweight or obese -- children themselves and health professionals also share this misperception, according to new research being presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Glasgow, UK (April 28-May 1).

Read More: Children News and Children Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.