Awareness to sun exposure and use of sunscreen by the general population
Sun exposure has a pathogenic effect on the development of skin cancer, whose prevalence increases worldwide. Educational programs are carried out to change high risk sun exposure behaviours. The aim of this study was to evaluate the knowledge of Saudi population regarding sun exposure and the risk of skin cancers, as well as to study their sun-protective attitudes and practices. A cross-sectional population-based survey using specially devised questionnaire on a stratified random sample of general population in Qassim Province between January and March 2010. One thousand three hundred and seventy six persons participated in the study. A high sun exposure of more than 10 hours per week was reported by 661 persons (48%). Fifty six percent of respondents were aware of the association between sun exposure and skin cancer but the rate of sun screen use was only 8.3%. Socio-demographic factors more likely to be associated with sunscreen use were: females, higher social class, higher levels of education, type 4 skin and married individuals. This study has indicated a low rate of sunscreen use by our population despite reasonably good knowledge about the hazards of sun exposure. This necessitates the need for health education program. We hope that the results of our study will be used for setting up a sun policy for Saudi general public.