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May 2018

Should Pediatricians Be More Proactive in Counseling Children About Skin Cancer Risk?Implications of the USPSTF Recommendation Statement

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Dermatology, Department of Pediatrics, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, Washington
  • 2University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle
JAMA Pediatr. 2018;172(5):418-420. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.0354

The most recent issue of JAMA includes the updated recommendation statement from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) on behavioral counseling to prevent skin cancer.1 In the same issue is the supporting evidence report and systematic review.2 The recommendations differ notably from the 2012 iteration3 in the following ways: (1) counseling for persons with fair skin types is now recommended as early as age 6 months, down from age 10 years; and (2) selective counseling is now recommended for adults older than 24 years with fair skin types. The first of these new recommendations is already well known to pediatricians. Intervening early with parents and appropriate-age children likely helps to shape safe future behaviors and decrease skin cancer risks; not doing so will leave those same children, conditioned to bad habits over the span of their youth, relatively refractory to later education. A broad coalition of stakeholders has endorsed this guidance, including the American Cancer Society,4 the Royal Australian College of General Physicians,5 the American Academy of Pediatrics,6 the American Academy of Dermatology,7 and others.

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