Prevalence Of Sun Protection, Skin Self-Examination And Skin Cancer Screening Behaviours And Practices Among Medical Students in Tirana, Albania With Family History For Skin Cancer

Yllka Bilushi, Rozeta Luci, Loreta Kuneshka, Numila Maliqari


Introduction Cutaneous malignant melanoma prevalence, incidence and mortality rates are increasing in white populations worldwide more rapidly than any other cancer site (American Cancer Society, 2006). Despite the potential importance of regular skin self­examination and promotion of self­protection practices, little is known about the prevalence of these practices in medical students in Albanian population.

Methods This is a descriptive, quantitative cross­sectional study. In this study were included a sample of 150 individuals chosen among the students of Faculty of Medicine based on their family history for skin cancer. This study was started on October the 3rd and finished on November the 12th. Subjects had to fill in a structured, self­administered questionnaire. All participants lived within Republic of Albania but at the time of the study were students in University of Tirana, Faculty of Medicine.

Results In this study that we conducted we included 150 individuals supposed to have a risk for skin cancer based on their family history. 200 individuals were approached for participation. Of these, 150 individuals returned questionnaire data, yielding a response rate of 75% among eligible, successfully contacted participants. The mean age of the sample was

20.05 years (Std. Dev. = 0.925), with males (22%) and females (78%) represented unequally, because the gender configuration of the faculty itself has gender disparities with more than 80% females and only 20% male students. The majority of the sample was born in city or town (85.3%), 14.7% was born in a village. In terms of income level, 79.3% of participants had a medium income family background, 15.3% high income and 5.3% had a low income level family background. Conclusion It is important for those individuals with family history for skin cancer (which inherently indicates risk for skin cancer) to develop self­examination and SSE behaviours and practices in order to have a protection and at least an early detection (if onset) of the different forms of Melanoma. The results of this study provide some guide as to the key areas or 'hot spots' on which to focus attention when designing supportive care interventions for melanoma survivors and those at high risk of skin cancer.


Skin cancer ■ Self­examination ■ Cancer risk

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