(CBS NEWS) -- Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, a disease that strikes nearly 77,000 Americans each year and takes nearly 9,500 lives.
That's why doctors are concerned by new research that finds a surprising number of people who survive melanoma engage in risky behaviors after beating cancer, including not wearing sunscreen or visiting a tanning salon.
"We know that for many people with melanoma, sun exposure is a major risk factor for recurrence and sun protection may reduce their chances of getting melanoma again," study author Dr. Anees B. Chagpar, an associate professor of surgery at Yale School of Medicine, in New Haven, Conn., said in a written statement. "Although we found that melanoma survivors did better than the general public at protecting their skin from the sun, we also found that more than a quarter of melanoma survivors never wear sunscreen," she said.
Added Chagpar, "That blew my mind."
For her study, presented April 8 at the American Association for Cancer Research's annual meeting in Washington D.C., researchers reviewed a 2010 national study in which health questionnaires were given to more than 27,000 U.S. adults. Researchers looked specifically for self-reported cases of melanoma, in addition to what participants reported about their sun protection practices - or lack thereof.
They identified 171 people who previously had melanoma.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE: Shocking Melanoma Survivors Study