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Public Health


Vasileios Margaritis


AbstractMelanoma cancer is a major public health issue and has been associated with tanning and exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Minimal information is known about prevention efforts specific to survivors of melanoma cancer who participate in an online community. Surveys of this community differ from previous research of individuals through nononline research; the online community is more likely to be younger in age, comfortable seeking health information using Internet resources, and more advanced in technological capabilities. The main aim of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the impact of age, gender, and race on melanoma prevention efforts (health maintenance and skin protection), controlled for education, marital status, and income, in an online community. The health belief model was the theoretical framework of this study. The study sample consisted of 101 volunteer melanoma cancer survivor participants from an online community of the American Cancer Society cancer survivor network who completed an online survey. Chi-square tests and multiple regression analyses were applied to address the research questions. Study findings revealed that women and participants with higher education levels and income levels had significantly better prevention and health maintenance efforts. These results provide an opportunity for organizations to develop programs, services, and policies for online communities to keep them abreast of prevention measures to manage their health and to promote positive social change