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Skin Cancer Prevention: ASCO Issues Policy Statement

By: Joseph Fanelli
Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2020

Despite an increase in knowledge about the causes of skin cancer and public health organizations supporting protections designed to prevent the disease, the United States and world are still experiencing “an epidemic of skin cancer,” according to a recent policy statement by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) presented in JCO Oncology Practice. ASCO recommendations for skin cancer prevention centered on reducing exposure to indoor tanning, increasing public efforts to promote sun protection, and encouraging oncology providers to take an active role in patient education.

“Active engagement in the multifaceted strategies highlighted in this statement holds the promise for curtailing the skin cancer epidemic,” commented Anthony J. Alberg, PhD, of the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and colleagues.

In the ASCO statement, the authors explained that although the dangers of ultraviolet radiation are well known, the high rates of skin cancer among adults highlight the challenge in convincing individuals to change behavior toward sun exposure. Approximately 3.5 million people were estimated to be diagnosed with keratinocyte carcinomas in 2012, and the number of cases increased by at least 35% from 2002 to 2012.

Although the risk of indoor tanning is clear, rising rates of skin cancer indicate more prevention strategies are needed in this area. They range from education, infrastructure in public parks, and curbing sun-seeking behavior. Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have placed age restrictions on the use of indoor-tanning devices.

Additionally, the authors stressed the importance of oncologists playing an active role in promoting cancer prevention and proper screening.

Disclaimer: For a full disclosure of the study authors, visit ascopubs.org.



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