Project SUNWISE: Skin Cancer Prevention Counseling by Pharmacists

Program Title Project SUNWISE: Skin Cancer Prevention Counseling by Pharmacists
Purpose Designed to increase the effectiveness of pharmacists in delivering skin cancer prevention counseling. (1998)
Program Focus Awareness building
Population Focus Clinicians
Topic Sun Safety
Age Adults (40-65 years), Young Adults (19-39 years)
Gender Female, Male
Race/Ethnicity This information has not been reported.
Setting Clinical, Community, Suburban, Urban/Inner City
Origination United States
Funded by NIAMS (Grant number(s): AR43025 )
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The Need

Unprotected sun exposure is a major risk factor for skin cancer. Pharmacists, as one group of health professionals can play an important role in increasing public awareness of this risk and how to reduce it.  Pharmacists are underused as a resource for skin cancer counseling, but due to their credibility and accessibility, they have great potential as educators in skin cancer prevention.
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The Program

Sunwise aims to increase the pharmacist's role in counseling clients about skin cancer prevention. Pharmacists receive training provided by a 23-minute video that provides information about sun protection and how to counsel patients. They also receive print materials regarding the pharmacist's role in skin cancer prevention. The pharmacists are to give the brochures and free sunscreen samples to the patients. They also wear buttons and display posters to invite questions while coffee mugs with slogans remind the pharmacists to counsel patients about skin cancer prevention.
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Time Required

Head pharmacists receive two on-site 30-minute training sessions, which includes a session on how to train other pharmacists.  All pharmacists in a site need to be trained within approximately 4 weeks.
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Intended Audience

The intervention targets pharmacists.
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Suitable Settings

Sunwise is intended to be implemented in pharmacies.
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Required Resources

Implementation requires a training video "Skin Cancer Prevention: A Role for Pharmacists" and a booklet by the same name.  Supporting resources for pharmacists may include incentives to serve as reminders, e.g. mugs, buttons, etc.
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About the Study

A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 54 pharmacies (178 pharmacists) in San Diego, California, selected for serving non-Hispanic Whites, the highest risk population. Eight individuals were trained to serve as evaluation confederates who observed the pharmacists' counseling behaviors before and after the intervention. Pharmacists also received a pretest and post-test survey regarding their skin cancer prevention counseling practices.

Pharmacy Level Observations

  • At pretest, pharmacists were observed counseling patients about sun protection.  2 of the control sites (7.4%) and 0 intervention sites had provided counseling. At post-test, pharmacists at 18 intervention sites (66.7%) were observed counseling patients compared to 1 control site (3.7%).  

          Graph of Study Results

Pharmacists' Survey Results

  • Intervention pharmacists' knowledge scores increased significantly while control groups pharmacists' knowledge did not change. 
  • After the intervention, all pharmacists who answered the survey (n=67) reported discussing photosensitivity due to medication.  
  • After the intervention, 92.5 percent of pharmacists surveyed (n=67) reported at least sometimes asking patients about sun avoidance.  
  • Nearly all (95.5 percent) of 67 pharmacists surveyed after the intervention reported at least sometimes providing patients with materials on reducing their risk for skin cancer.
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Last Modified: 04/27/2012
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