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J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2013 Feb;27(2):e247-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2012.04621.x. Epub 2012 Jul 24.

Medical students and sun prevention: knowledge and behaviours in France.

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1
Department of Dermatology, Ambroise-Paré University Hospital, University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, 9, avenue Charles de Gaulle, Boulogne-Billancourt, France.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

High sun exposure is a major risk factor of skin cancer, and physicians are first-line players in a sun-risk prevention campaign.

OBJECTIVES:

To survey medical students at the end of their general medical education about their knowledge and behaviours concerning natural and artificial sun risk and its prevention.

METHODS:

A 32-question survey was e-mailed to fifth or sixth year medical school students or first-year resident, attending residency-exam preparatory courses in Paris.

RESULTS:

Among 1,374 students, 570 (41.7%) completed the questionnaires. General aspects of sun-protection measures were known to >75% but responses to specific questions, mainly the impact of environmental conditions on sun risk, were frequently erroneous. Although most students declared using sunscreen and avoiding peak hours, 39% never or exceptionally (<1/year) performed skin self-examination. Fewer than one-third wore long sleeves or cap/hat in the sun, and tanning beds were used by 13.5%, but their regulations remained unknown by 30-68%.

CONCLUSION:

The sixth year of medical school signals the end of non-specialized training. Students' results and practices were almost comparable to those of the French general population. Medical schools might not be providing adequate sun-protection education programmes, perhaps diminishing the ability of future doctors to educate patients.

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