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How Your Partner Can Reduce Your Risk of Skin Cancer

by kelly / March, 3 2021 01:30

Photo of a man and a woman holding hands on a sunset walk on the beach

There are so many benefits to being in a healthy and fulfilling relationship. Many studies show that these relationships can lead to a longer and healthier life. And one more new benefit of a great partnership is sun protection. Yes, you read that right! A new study shows that support from your partner can improve your sun protection habits. And good sun protection habits often lead to less sun damage and reduced skin cancer risk. Who knew!

Sun Safe Partners Study

This novel study came out of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and recruited 75 married/cohabiting couples through Facebook ads. Couples were then asked to complete educational modules or interventions, called Sun Safe Partners online, that provided information on sunscreen ingredients, skin cancer risks, and UV rays.

The pairs where then asked to create and track their individual sun protection goals and discuss what they learned from these modules.

Afterwards each couple completed a follow-up survey to gauge their post-intervention behaviors and the results were compared against a baseline survey taken at the start.

Surprising Study Results

Sharon Manne PhD, the lead researched on the study, was surprised by:

“how many couples utilized the intervention materials…It was a relatively high rate of engagement, and a lot of the time people will not even open interventions. They might download an app and not use it. But the majority of the people here actually had discussions with their partners.”

Additionally, more than 65% of the participants completed all the intervention modules. Dr. Manne also saw a small-to-moderate increase in some couples’ sun protection behaviors after the intervention program.

She found overall that:

“a couple-focused intervention may hold promise as a way to improve sun protection behaviors beyond interventions focused solely on individuals by leveraging the concern, collaboration, and support among intimate partners and addressing relationship-based barriers to sun protection.”

Dr. Manne hopes to expand her study to a larger scale or to develop an app around the intervention to get more study participants.

Suncare Smarts

So the next time you head out for the day – don’t forget to remind your partner to apply that sunscreen. Maybe make it a fun thing you do together every day.

For even more sun protection tips check out our Suncare Smarts series.

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