In Faculty and Staff, School of Communications

Special UV photographs reveal existing skin damage caused by UV light exposure which is normally invisible to the naked eye.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. If you could visibly see signs of skin cancer on your body, would you be more likely to visit the doctor?

A group of professors from BYU and the University of Utah asked that exact question as they looked for the most effective ways to influence people to screen themselves for cancer.

The team found that visual stimulation had a significant impact on those whom they studied, a group of more than 2,200 adults ages 18-89 from across the country.

The results demonstrate that UV skin damage visuals can cause viewers to feel fear, which then made these individuals more likely to participate in positive sun-safe behaviors such as wearing sunscreen or protective clothing.

“Just talking about skin cancer, being inundated with facts and mortality rates, all of that is fear-inspiring language, but the images were so powerful that they moved people to intend to take action,” said Kevin John, an assistant professor in BYU’s School of Communications and study co-author.

Read the full story at news.byu.edu.

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