The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) recently joined with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of the Surgeon General and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a national call-to-action on skin cancer prevention. The national call to action identifies opportunities for the government, public and private organizations, healthcare providers, and individuals to raise awareness of skin-protection practices.

“The American Academy of Dermatology Association is extremely pleased that the HHS' Surgeon General's office and CDC recognize that skin cancer prevention is an important national health issue,” said Brett M. Coldiron, MD, FAAD, president of the AADA. “The American public needs to be aware that the dangers of ultraviolet radiation exposure are real. Unprotected exposure to ultraviolet rays — from the sun and indoor tanning devices — is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers, including melanoma.”

In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/HHS requested information from the AADA and other stakeholder groups on public strategies and barriers to prevent skin cancer through reduction of UV exposure. The AADA recommended that the CDC implement a multi-pronged campaign — including federal, state, and local governments as well as key stakeholders — to educate the public on tanning and skin cancer and institute programs that teach safe skin behaviors at an early age.

The AADA has also successfully advocated for legislation that prohibits minors under the age of 18 from indoor tanning in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Vermont and Washington.

The call to action comes on the heels of the FDA's final order calling for stricter regulations of indoor tanning devices, and a strong recommendation against the use of tanning beds by minors under the age of 18. Specifically, the HHS/CDC call to action highlights the increasing concerns about the use of indoor tanning devices, recommending:

  • Continued research on indoor tanning trends and behaviors
  • The development of more messaging alerting the public about the dangers associated with indoor tanning
  • Increase enforcement of existing regulations on indoor tanning
  • Improved warning labels on indoor tanning devices

Additionally, the call to action recommends everyday preventive steps for consumers, such as wearing protective gear, seeking shade, and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.

“The AADA is particularly pleased that the HHS and the Office of the Surgeon General have highlighted methods for the public to prevent skin cancer in this white paper, that include seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, applying sunscreen, and avoiding dangerous indoor tanning devices,” said Dr. Coldiron. “The Academy looks forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders to implement these recommendations.”