Are Environmental Interventions Targeting Skin Cancer Prevention among Children and Adolescents Effective? A Systematic Review
Skin cancer, which is increasing exceedingly worldwide, is substantially preventable by reducing unprotected exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Several comprehensive interventions targeting sun protection behaviors among children and adolescents in various outdoor settings have been developed; however, there is a lack of insight on stand-alone effectiveness of environmental elements. To compose future skin cancer prevention interventions optimally, identification of effective environmental components is necessary. Hence, an extensive systematic literature search was conducted, using four scientific databases and one academic search engine. Seven relevant studies were evaluated based on stand-alone effects of various types of environmental sun safety interventions on socio-cognitive determinants, sun protection behaviors, UVR exposure, and incidence of sunburns and nevi. Free provision of sunscreen was most often the environmental component of interest, however showing inconsistent results in terms of effectiveness. Evidence regarding shade provision on shade-seeking behavior was most apparent. Even though more research is necessary to consolidate the findings, this review accentuates the promising role of environmental components in skin cancer prevention interventions and provides directions for future multi-component sun safety interventions targeted at children and adolescents in various outdoor settings.