Article Text

  1. J. R. Calvert
  1. University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA


Purpose Preston, Idaho's medical establishment draws patients from all of Franklin County. Farming, the main occupation in Franklin County, often results in extended sun exposure. During a 4-week observation in Preston, ID, significant numbers of patients with skin cancer and sun-related damage were treated. However, prevention was never discussed.

Method To raise the level of skin cancer prevention awareness, educational material was presented by means of a booth at the local, very popular “Napoleon Dynamite Festival.” Material included several posters, brochures, and a brief quiz designed to reinforce the most important points of the presentation. The material focused on risk awareness and appropriate preventions, including sunscreen and skin self-exams. Approximately 150 people reviewed the material.

Summary While most people appeared to understand the steps to prevent skin cancer, few comprehended the seriousness of the problem or actively protected themselves. Many benefited from discussions amongst family members, raising awareness of personal risk factors, including family history of skin cancer. For many, the material was a means of opening discussion between parents and children. Educational posters were given to a local physician for use in his office following the booth presentation.

Conclusion The risks of sun exposure are ubiquitous. Taking the opportunity to educate patients about strategies for risk reduction can impact the rapid increase in the incidence of skin cancer.

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