May 1986

Risk Reduction for Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer With Childhood Sunscreen Use

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology and the Charles A. Dana Research Institute, Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston (Dr Stern), and the Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston (Drs Weinstein and Baker).

Arch Dermatol. 1986;122(5):537-545. doi:10.1001/archderm.1986.01660170067022

• Exposure to ultraviolet radiation is the principle cause of basal and squamous cell carcinomas of the skin, which are the most frequent tumors occurring in white residents of the United States. Using a mathematical model based on epidemiologic data, we quantified the potential benefits of using a sunscreen with a sun protective factor of 15 and estimate that regular use of such a sunscreen during the first 18 years of life would reduce the lifetime incidence of these tumors by 78%. Additional benefits of sunscreen use during childhood include reduced risk of sunburn, retarding the pace of skin aging, and possible reduction in melanoma risk. We recommend that pediatricians encourage sunscreen use and sun avoidance as a regular part of pediatric preventive health care.

(Arch Dermatol 1986;122:537-545)