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Sun Protection Behaviour and Sunburns in Spanish Cyclists

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Sunburn caused by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation is the main cause of preventable skin cancer. This study aimed to describe the sun protection habits and rate of sunburns associated with the practice of cycling and to identify predictive factors of sunburn among cyclists. A descriptive observational study based on online surveys was conducted. Recruitment of participants was conducted through the Andalusian Cycling Federation (Spain). A questionnaire on behaviour, attitudes, and knowledge related to sun exposure was used. A bivariate analysis was carried out with sunburn episodes during the previous year as outcome variable, and a multivariate logistic regression model was built. Of the 1018 surveys returned, 87.6% were answered by men, mean age was 41.8 years (SD: 11.0), and 37.6% of the participants had phototype I or II. Sunburns during the previous year were reported by 45.6% (95% CI: 42.5–48.7) of the respondents. Sunscreen use was reported by 39.2%, and 61.0% did not examine their skin regularly despite the fact that 34 subjects (3.4%) reported a personal history of skin cancer. The multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that there was a negative correlation between episodes of sunburn and age, phototypes I–II, more than 2 h of sun exposure, and inconsistent use of sunscreen. Cyclists have high rates of sunburns and thus constitute a high-risk group for developing skin cancer. Educational interventions specifically aimed at this group of athletes would improve sun protection knowledge and practices, particularly the use of sunscreen.

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Authors and Affiliations



FR conceptualised data analysis, analysed data, and drafted the manuscript; DD is the principal investigator who conceptualised the overall study, obtained research funding, led the project implementation, and assisted with analysing the data and drafting and revising the manuscript; NB, MRP, and MVG contributed to the study design, interpretation of results, and manuscript revisions; MDT contributed to the study design, funding acquisition, interpretation of the results, and manuscript revisions.

All authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript and agree with the order of presentation of the authors.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Diego Doncel Molinero or Magdalena de Troya Martín.

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Doncel Molinero, D., Ruiz Paulano, M., Rivas Ruiz, F. et al. Sun Protection Behaviour and Sunburns in Spanish Cyclists. J Canc Educ 37, 957–964 (2022).

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