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May 2018

USPSTF Recommendations for Behavioral Counseling for Skin Cancer Prevention: Throwing Shade on UV Radiation

Author Affiliations
  • 1Program for Clinical Research, Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs
JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(5):609-611. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.0846

In this week’s issue of JAMA, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) discusses their recommendations on behavioral counseling for skin cancer prevention,1 supported by an evidence report and systematic review.2 Based on the available studies conducted in primary care settings between 2009 and 2017, the review concluded that “behavioral interventions can increase sun protection behavior, but there is no consistent evidence that interventions are associated with a reduction in the frequency of sunburn in children or adults and minimal evidence on skin cancer outcomes.”2 The Task Force recommended that clinicians should counsel children and young adults with fair skin types about minimizing exposure to UV radiation (grade B recommendation). In addition, for the first time, the USPSTF concluded that there may be a small benefit of counseling adults at high risk for skin cancer about minimizing UV exposure (grade C recommendation). Skin self-examinations were assigned an I statement, meaning that insufficient evidence is available to recommend for or against this intervention.

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