Updated Skin Cancer Prevention Guidelines

April 3, 2018
Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN

Behavioral counseling interventions are of moderate benefit in increasing sun protection behaviors in children, adolescents, and young adults with fair skin types.

Skin cancer continues to be the most common type of cancer in the United States (US), and it is predicted that the number of people diagnosed with skin cancer will grow. The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) reviewed studies on counseling patients about sun protection to identify outcomes, behavior changes, and skin cancer incidence.

The task force found that behavioral counseling interventions are of moderate benefit in increasing sun protection behaviors in children, adolescents, and young adults with fair skin types. Because most trials of skin cancer counseling predominantly included people with fair skin types, the USPSTF limited its recommendations to this population.

The USPSTF recommends counseling fair-skinned young adults, adolescents, children, and parents of fair-skinned young children about minimizing exposure to UV radiation to reduce their risk of skin cancer. Clinicians should selectively offer counseling to fair-skinned adults age 24 and older since the net benefit of counseling this group is small.