Skin cancer risk factors among primary school children: Investigations in Western Hungary

Katalin Fehér, Maria Cecilia Cercato, Ida Prantner, Zsuzsanna Dombi, Bernadett Burkali, Judit Paller, Valerio Ramazzotti, Isabella Sperduti, Edit Nádasi, Katalin Parragi, Ildikó Menyhárt, Pier Giorgio Natali, István Ember

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To evaluate the factors associated with sunburns and with sun protection practice in Hungarian primary school children. Method: We investigated children's (the median age: 8, range 5 to 12 years) and parents' assessment of sun sensitivity and sun protection characteristics in cities GyÖr and Zalaegerszeg (Hungary) in 2004. This cross-sectional study was part of a programme intended to increase children's and parents' awareness of harmful effects of excessive sunbathing. Analyses were based on 1804 multiple choice questionnaires. Results: At multivariate analysis a significant association between sunburns and fairness of complexion, freckles, use of sunscreens and T-shirts, and higher school-class level was observed. Sunburn was inversely associated with hat-wearing. Parents were more likely to apply sunscreen to children with light eyes and to the younger ones, to protect fair skinned children with T-shirts; to protect males and children with fair skin and light eyes with hats. Conclusion: Since environmental factors play an important role in the development of skin cancer, morbidity could be reduced by primary prevention. Sun protection habits should therefore be taught early in life, and parents' behaviour adapted. Phenotype is not only related to sunburns but it also appears to influence parents' sun safety behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-324
Number of pages5
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010


  • Children
  • Hungary
  • Melanoma
  • Prevention
  • Risk factors
  • Skin cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Epidemiology


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