Skin cancer rates continue to rise in the Hispanic population. In the last two decades, their annual melanoma incidence has increased by 20% (5). Even though Hispanics are diagnosed at a disproportionately lower level than non-Hispanic whites (NHWs), they are diagnosed with melanoma at a younger age, with a more advanced stage of the disease, and have lower melanoma-specific survival rates than NHWs (1,3).
Klein Buendel’s randomized controlled trial, Sun Safety Ink!, trains tattoo artists to offer skin cancer prevention advice to their clients. A recent diversity supplement will extend the Sun Safety Ink! study by focusing on how this information can be targeted to Hispanic tattoo artists and their clients, especially young adults. The supplement’s goals are to discover new approaches to address the increasing rates of skin cancer in the Hispanic population and to provide insight into the implementation of skin cancer prevention in an often hard-to-reach population.
Over 30% of the Hispanic population has tattoos (4), a rate that is higher than NHWs (25%). Tattoo studios, because they often recommend sun protection in their aftercare instructions, are a unique context in which to promote full body sun protection to Latinos. Sun Safety Ink! will distribute sun safety information to hard-to-reach Hispanic young adults. The diversification of the study sample will provide information on (1) baseline knowledge on sun protection in the Latino population, (2) barriers to sun protection, and (3) at-risk populations.
The supplement includes both formative research and the implementation of the Sun Safety Ink! program. Specifically, tattoo studios with Hispanic artists and clients in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico will be recruited to participate in the study. The tattoo artists will be provided with a version of the Sun Safety Ink! training modified based on formative research conducted by Cristian Gonzalez, MD. Dr. Gonzalez is a Research Fellow at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and an upcoming Medical Resident at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Dr. Gonzalez explained that the most important aspect of this project is that “Latinos have this invincibility factor that they think they can’t get skin cancer because they don’t know a lot of family members or friends with skin cancer, so sometimes it really doesn’t come up. If we can increase awareness of skin cancer in the Latino community, and if we can also improve sun protection behavior, I think we would see a reduction in melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer in the future.”
Sun Safety Ink! is funded by a grant and a supplement from the National Cancer Institute (CA206569; Dr. Barbara Walkosz, Principal Investigator). Collaborators include Dr. David Buller, Mary Buller, Rachel Eye, and Savanna Olivas from Klein Buendel; and Dr. Robert Dellavalle from the University of Colorado, Denver.
- Coups EJ, Stapleton JL, Hudson SV, Medina-Forrester A, Natale-Pereira A, Goydos JS. Sun protection and exposure behaviors among Hispanic adults in the United States: differences according to acculturation and among Hispanic subgroups. BMC Public Health. 2012;12:985.
- Hay J, Coups EJ, Ford J, DiBonaventura M. Exposure to mass media health information, skin cancer beliefs, and sun protection behaviors in a United States probability sample. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2009;61(5):783-792. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2009.04.023.PMC2854488
- Harvey VM, Oldfield CW, Chen JT, Eschbach K. Melanoma disparities among US Hispanics: use of the social ecological model to contextualize reasons for inequitable outcomes and frame a research agenda. Journal of Skin Cancer. 2016;2016:4635740. doi: 10.1155/2016/4635740
- One in five U.S. adults now has a tattoo [press release]. New York, NY: Harris Insights & Analytics, February 23. Available at: https://theharrispoll.com/new-york-n-y-february-23-2012-there-is-a-lot-of-culture-and-lore-associated-with-tattoos-from-ancient-art-to-modern-expressionism-and-there-are-many-reasons-people-choose-to-get-or-not-get-p/.
- Skin cancer rates soar in US Hispanics. Sun & Skin News. November 21, 2013;30(4). https://www.skincancer.org/publications/sun-and-skin-news/winter-2013-30-4/soar.