UV radiation (UVR) exposure is the primary environmental risk factor for developing cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM).
To measure changes in sun behavior from the first until the third summer after the diagnosis of CMM using matched controls as a reference.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Three-year follow-up, observational, case-control study performed from May 7 to September 22, 2009, April 17 to September 15, 2010, and May 6 to July 31, 2011, at a university hospital in Denmark of 21 patients with CMM and 21 controls matched to patients by sex, age, occupation, and constitutive skin type participated in the study. Exposure to UVR was assessed the first and second summers (n = 20) and the first and third summers (n = 22) after diagnosis. Data from 40 participants were analyzed.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Exposure to UVR was assessed by personal electronic UVR dosimeters that measured time-related UVR in standard erythema dose (SED) and corresponding sun diaries (mean, 74 days per participant each participation year).
Patients’ daily UVR dose and UVR dose in connection with various behaviors increased during follow-up (quantified as an increase in daily UVR dose each year; all days: mean, 0.3 SED; 95% CI, 0.05-0.5 SED; days with body exposure: mean, 0.6 SED; 95% CI, 0.07-1.2 SED; holidays: mean, 1.2 SED; 95% CI, 0.3-2.1 SED; days abroad: 1.9 SED; 95% CI, 0.4-3.4 SED; and holidays with body exposure: mean, 2.3 SED; 95% CI, 1.1-3.4 SED). After the second year of follow-up, patients’ UVR dose was higher than that of controls, who maintained a stable UVR dose. No difference was found between groups in the number of days with body exposure or the number of days using sunscreen in the second and third years of follow-up.
Conclusions and Relevance
Our findings suggest that patients with CMM do not maintain a cautious sun behavior in connection with an increase in UVR exposure, especially on days with body exposure, when abroad, and on holidays.