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Nursing Students Fight Skin Cancer at Boise State


In early March, students in the course titled Community and Population Nursing Lab (NURS 417), partnered with Comprehensive Cancer Control of Idaho, a program of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, and University Health Services to spread the word about melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, across the Boise State campus.

The team agreed that a skin cancer campaign before the onset of spring break was high priority since it could have the biggest impact on students. The campaign’s importance was also stressed because Idaho has a higher prevalence of skin cancer compared to the rest of the country.

"Wear SPF 30 Protect Your Skin" Written on a sidewalk

The team met with the marketing team at University Health Services and decided to spread the word through informational ads on digital screens around campus, large sidewalk chalk art, and a blog post, which was seen 257 times. Their pieces included information, education, and a call to action to change behaviors. The NURS 417  students also surveyed 1,000 students campus wide to gauge their understanding of melanoma and to give tips on how to prevent it and were able to schedule a skin cancer screening, available to all students, staff, and faculty, with Ada West Dermatology on March 12.

The end goal of the project was to increase campus awareness of the dangers of skin cancer, and to ultimately give students the opportunity to receive a free screening. The two hour screening enabled the team to provide the service to  60 individuals. Of those 60, one person was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma and was referred to a dermatologist for evaluation and treatment. 38 patients needed referrals for further evaluation, 12 of which were recommended biopsies. Thirty-four of the referrals would not have have been screened for skin cancer if it was not for the free clinic.

The lab was instructed by Debora Dobbs and group members included Sarah Miles, Brandon Ward, Matt Eskelson, Bryce Campbell, Crissy Powell, Mellissa May, Amy Jacobson, Jason Novak, and Tracee Chapman.

The group also received recognition by the Arbiter, which can be read on the Arbiter website.