Background: Individuals from melanoma-prone families have similar or reduced sun-protective behaviors compared to the general population. Studies on trends in sun-related behaviors have been temporally and geographically limited. Methods: Individuals from an international consortium of melanoma-prone families (GenoMEL) were retrospectively asked about sunscreen use, sun exposure (time spent outside), sunburns, and sunbed use at several timepoints over their lifetime. Generalized linear mixed models were used to examine the association between these outcomes and birth cohort defined by decade spans, after adjusting for covariates. Results: A total of 2407 participants from 547 families across 17 centers were analyzed. Sunscreen use increased across subsequent birth cohorts, and although the likelihood of sunburns increased until the 1950s birth cohort, it decreased thereafter. Average sun exposure did not change across the birth cohorts, and the likelihood of sunbed use increased in more recent birth cohorts. We generally did not find any differences in sun-related behavior when comparing melanoma cases to non-cases. Melanoma cases had increased sunscreen use, decreased sun exposure, and decreased odds of sunburn and sunbed use after melanoma diagnosis compared to before diagnosis. Conclusions: Although sunscreen use has increased and the likelihood of sunburns has decreased in more recent birth cohorts, individuals in melanoma-prone families have not reduced their overall sun exposure and had an increased likelihood of sunbed use in more recent birth cohorts. These observations demonstrate partial improvements in melanoma prevention and suggest that additional intervention strategies may be needed to achieve optimal sun-protective behavior in melanoma-prone families.

Original languageEnglish
Article number692
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


FundersFunder number
CINSW10/TPG/1-02, 15/CDF/1-14, 05/TPG/1-01
Frans van Nieuwpoort
Fundación Manuel Pérez
Paulsson Trust
Spanish Fondo de Investigaciones SanitariasPI15/00956, PI15/00716
National Institutes of HealthR01 CA83115
Fundació la Marató de TV3
Seventh Framework ProgrammeLSH-CT-2006-018702
Cancer Research UKC8216/A6129, C588/A4994, C588/ A10589
European Commission
European Research CouncilERC-2011-294576
National Health and Medical Research Council1147843, 211172, 633004, 107359, 566946, 1093017, 402761
Cancer Council NSW06/10, 77/00
Cancer Institute NSW
Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo2007/04313-2
Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior
Fundación Científica Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer
Generalitat de Catalunya
Agència de Gestió d'Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca2014_SGR_603
Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología152256/158706
Ministero della SaluteRF-2016-02362288
Lund University
Instituto de Salud Carlos III
Radiumhemmets Forskningsfonder
European Regional Development Fund
Åke Borg


    • High-risk families
    • Melanoma
    • Skin Cancer
    • Sun exposure
    • Sun-related behaviors
    • Sunbed
    • Sunburn
    • Sunscreen use
    • Trends


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