ASDSA Applauds USPSTF Endorsement of Behavioral Counseling to Prevent Skin Cancer

April 1, 2018

The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA) applauds the recent US Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF) endorsement of behavioral counseling to prevent skin cancer for individuals aged six months to 24 years with a fair skin type, including parents of young children.

The ASDS/ASDSA encourages proactive methods that encourage sun-safe behaviors, knowing that changing behavior and reducing the number of skin cancer cases starts with patient education on sun safety and prevention tactics. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., and, for the fifth consecutive year in the ASDS Procedure Survey, skin cancer treatments ranked as the most-performed procedure by ASDS members in 2016 (3.5 million procedures). Society members recommend monthly self-examinations and annual skin cancer screenings with a board-certified dermatologist as crucial to early detection.

“Society members take a comprehensive approach to battling skin cancer,” said ASDS/ASDSA President Lisa Donofrio, MD. “Patient education efforts work in tandem with skin cancer screenings leading to early detection and enabling higher survival rates. Our free screenings through our Choose Skin Health program, sun-safe behavior education through our public service programs and the launch of SUNucate model legislation providing children access to sunscreen at schools are all making an impact.”

ASDS/ASDSA members have performed more than 24,000 free skin cancer screenings through Choose Skin Health program, and the Society has assisted nine states in passing SUNucate regulations with several more under consideration. SUNucate was launched in May 2016 after it was noted that children were required to provide a physician’s prescription in order to possess or use sunscreen at their school or camp, as sunscreen is classified as an over-the-counter drug by the Food and Drug Administration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USPSTF both believe that children should have access to sunscreen and other sun-protective measures in order to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

“Behavioral counseling complements the Society’s belief that prevention through patient education, early detection and allowing children to use sunscreen without a prescription are vital steps to reduce skin cancer in the United States,” said Dr. Donofrio.

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