Skin cancer prevention is a public health priority. Over 3.5 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancers
(NMSC) occur annually and melanoma rates have doubled in the last 30 years, burdening the nation's health
system. Increasing evidence points to the need for prevention programs to be targeted to young adults2,3 as
invasive melanoma of the skin is the third most common cancer among adolescents and young adults (ages 15-
39) in the U.S. Skin cancer is preventable as excess exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR), the primary risk
factor, is modifiable and a number of public health campaigns have been developed to increase awareness
about skin cancer risk and to promote sun safety. Despite these efforts, skin cancer rates continue to rise. Many
adults still forget to apply sunscreen, do not pre-apply prior to sun exposure, fail to reapply, do not use clothing
or wide-brimmed hats that physically block UVR and do not use shade. 4.2% of US adults engage in indoor
tanning. It is well established that continued efforts are needed to promote skin cancer prevention.
Concurrently, approximately, 25% of American adults have a tattoo with younger adults more likely to have
tattoos than older adults. The popularity of tattoos continues to grow in the general population and particularly
among members of the military. Individuals with tattoos need to take extra precaution when exposed to the
sun not only to protect themselves from harmful UVR rays but also to reduce damage to their tattoos. We
propose to develop and test Sun Safety Ink! (SSI!), a skin cancer prevention program targeted to clients of
licensed tattoo studios. The studios have been selected as the venue for this study because tattoo studios, at
times, promote sun protection for new tattoos to keep them from fading, and offer a unique opportunity to
reach younger adults who have high sunburn rates and are often less likely to practice sun protection. The
studios provide a unique and compatible environment for sun safety promotion. Further, a number of
successful programs have promoted health practices through similar venues such as beauty parlors and barber
shops. Our exploratory research with the tattoo community determined that: (1) tattoo studios were receptive
to a skin cancer prevention program; (2) tattooed individuals had high rates of sunburns and low rates of sun
protection but were open to receiving sun safety information and (3) a prototype SSI! program confirmed
feasibility for recruitment and implementation. Based on these results, we propose to fully develop SSI! to
include an online sun safety training for artists, a website, and additional sun safety education materials (e.g.,
social media). We will work with the Alliance of Professional Tattoo Artists and the National Tattoo Association
to recruit 30 licensed studios to participate in a group-randomized pretest-posttest controlled quasi-
experimental design. The primary outcomes of the study will be to evaluate the effectiveness of SSI! at: (1)
increasing full-body comprehensive sun protection practices; (2) decreasing sun burning and tanning; and, (3)
decreasing positive attitudes regarding tanning and tanning attractiveness.
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