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Behavioral Counseling to Prevent Skin Cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement

Virginia A. Moyer, MD, MPH, on behalf of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

Ann Intern Med. 2012;157(1):59-65. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-157-1-201207030-00442


Description: Update of the 2003 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation statement on counseling to prevent skin cancer.

Methods: The USPSTF performed a targeted literature search for new evidence that counseling patients about sun protection reduces intermediate outcomes (such as sunburn) or skin cancer. Other key questions addressed the link between counseling and behavior change, the link between behavior change and incidence of skin cancer, and the adverse effects of counseling or sun-protective behavior changes.

Recommendations: The USPSTF recommends counseling children, adolescents, and young adults aged 10 to 24 years who have fair skin about minimizing their exposure to ultraviolet radiation to reduce risk for skin cancer (B recommendation).

The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of counseling adults older than 24 years about minimizing risks to prevent skin cancer (I statement).