Bottom Line: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends behavioral counseling to help reduce the risk of skin cancer from ultraviolet (UV) radiation in persons ages 6 months to 24 years with fair skin types.
Background: The USPSTF routinely makes recommendations about the effectiveness of preventive care services. This recommendation statement updates a 2012 recommendation on behavioral counseling to prevent skin cancer and a 2009 recommendation on screening for skin cancer with self-examinations. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. There were an estimated 3.3 million new cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer in 2012 and approximately 90,000 new cases of melanoma skin cancer in 2018.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION: The USPSTF recommends counseling young adults, adolescents, children, and parents of young children about minimizing exposure to UV radiation for persons aged 6 months to 24 years with fair skin types to reduce their risk of skin cancer. (B recommendation) The USPSTF recommends that clinicians selectively offer counseling to adults older than 24 years with fair skin types about minimizing their exposure to UV radiation to reduce risk of skin cancer. Existing evidence indicates that the net benefit of counseling all adults older than 24 years is small. In determining whether this service is appropriate in individual cases, patients and clinicians should consider the presence of risk factors for skin cancer. (C recommendation) The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of counseling adults about skin self-examination to prevent skin cancer. (I statement)
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Note: More information about the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, its process, and its recommendations can be found on the newsroom page of its website.