Skin cancer is largely preventable, let's get to work preventing it.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, but you can help your patients to reduce their risk of skin cancer or find it early when it’s most treatable. We have collected these tips and resources to assist you:
The USPSTF recommends counseling young adults, adolescents, children, and parents of young children about minimizing exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation for persons aged 6 months to 24 years with fair skin types to reduce their risk of skin cancer. (B grade recommendation)
The USPSTF recommends that clinicians selectively offer counseling to adults older than 24 years with fair skin types about minimizing their exposure to UV radiation to reduce risk of skin cancer. Existing evidence indicates that the net benefit of counseling all adults older than 24 years is small. In determining whether counseling is appropriate in individual cases, patients and clinicians should consider the presence of risk factors for skin cancer. (C grade recommendation)
According to the USPSTF, effective interventions are generally of low intensity and completed during the primary care visit. Successful interventions use cancer prevention and appearance-focused messages to reach specific audiences. The latter types of messages were successful at reducing intent to pursue indoor tanning among late-adolescent women. Data from NCC’s Sun Smart Schools program also indicate that appearance-focused messages were more effective among high school-aged students.
Additional guidance from USPSTF
Follow the 5 S's to reduce the risk for skin cancer :
Slip on sun protective clothing.
Slop on broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen.
Slap on a wide-brimmed hat.
Seek shade or shelter, especially from 10a.m.- 4p.m.
Slide on UV protective sunglasses.
Patients can conduct skin cancer self-examination on a regular basis with guidance from you. Encourage patients to keep a “body mole map” and track spots on their skin, including moles, freckles, and age spots to take note of changes or the appearance of new spots.
The ABCDEs of Melanoma can also help patients to evaluate their skin. They are:
Asymmetry – one half of the mole is unlike the other half
Border – irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border
Color – varied from one area to another, shades of tan and brown, or sometimes white, red, or blue
Diameter – a mole that is growing in size, and those that are larger than 6mm, about the size of a pencil eraser
Evolving – a mole or skin lesion that changes in size, shape, or color, or looks different from the rest