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Cancer HealthCast 19m listen

Where Psychology and Skin Cancer Prevention Meet

Health researchers are applying psychology and emerging technologies to help better track melanoma incidents, assess UV exposure and promote sun safety policies in schools.

About 90% of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with ultraviolet radiation exposure. Sometimes prevention is straight forward: wear sunblock, stay shaded. But still, there are 1 million skin cancer diagnoses in the U.S. every year. Ultraviolet dosimeters are one of several technologies that are showing a lot of promise when it comes to preventing skin cancer. The tools collect personalized data about UV exposure and are linked to an app that allows people to enter information about their sun-protective behaviors like wearing sunscreen.  Psychologist Frank Perna, program director at the National Cancer Institute (NCI)’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, Behavioral Research Program, and Health Behaviors Research Branch, discusses how programs like the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program and the Classification of Laws Associated with School Students (CLASS) are helpful in tracking melanoma as well as capturing data about state policies related to sun safety and sunscreen use in schools.

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