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April 2006

Evaluation of Medical Students' Knowledge, Attitudes, and Personal Practices of Sun Protection and Skin Self-examination

Arch Dermatol. 2006;142(4):523-533. doi:10.1001/archderm.142.4.523

Patients with premalignant and malignant skin lesions are often under the care of nondermatologists, which suggests that physicians and medical students need to have the clinical skills to diagnose early-stage skin cancer and provide sun protection counseling. Physicians are more likely to “preach what they practice,”1 and sun protection and skin examination behaviors among physicians are no exception.2 We investigated the knowledge, attitudes, and personal practices regarding sun protection and skin self-examination (SSE) among the classes of 2003 and 2005 at Boston University School of Medicine. In all, 137 of the 150 students in the class of 2005 and 101 of the 150 students in the class of 2003 completed the survey. The primary outcomes were practices regarding sporadic use of sun protection during the summer of 2002 (defined as never, rarely, or sometimes), history of recent sunburns (at least 1 sunburn during the past summer), and practice of the SSE.

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