An official website of the United States government

Project SUNWISE: Skin Cancer Prevention Counseling by Pharmacists

Program Synopsis

Designed to increase the effectiveness of pharmacists in delivering skin cancer prevention counseling, this intervention provides (1) a video that trains pharmacists on sun protection and how to counsel patients, (2) brochures and sunscreen samples pharmacists can give to patients, and (3) posters pharmacists can display to invite questions from patients.  The study showed an increase in counseling patients about sun protection.

Program Highlights

Purpose: Designed to increase the effectiveness of pharmacists in delivering skin cancer prevention counseling (1998).
Age: 19-39 Years (Young Adults), 40-65 Years (Adults)
Sex: Female, Male
Race/Ethnicity: This information has not been reported.
Program Focus: Awareness Building
Population Focus: Clinicians
Program Area: Sun Safety
Delivery Location: Clinical, Other Settings
Community Type: Suburban, Urban/Inner City
Program Materials

Preview, download, or order free materials on a CD

Program Scores

EBCCP Scores
(1.0 = low,   5.0 = high)
RE-AIM Scores

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.

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.

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.

The intervention targets pharmacists.

Sunwise is intended to be implemented in pharmacies.

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.

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.
NCI does not endorse nor recommend any commercial products, processes, or services, nor do they guarantee the success of programs made available on the site. The views and opinions of authors expressed on this website do not necessarily state or reflect those of the NCI, and may not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes. Rather, the information is provided to help you make an informed decision about the best program options to meet your cancer control needs. Please see the disclaimer for further information.
Updated: 07/21/2020