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The American Academy of Dermatology Association commends the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force for addressing the importance of skin cancer prevention counseling, particularly in our youngest, most vulnerable patients. We want to stress, however, that skin cancer prevention is important for people of all ages and skin types, not just those with fair skin between the ages of 6 months and 24 years.
Exposure to ultraviolet radiation is the most preventable risk factor for all types of skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. In fact, research indicates that about 95 percent of melanoma cases are attributable to UV exposure.
The AADA recommends that everyone, regardless of age or skin type, stay out of indoor tanning beds, and protect themselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing and using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. While this is important for young people to reduce their risk of skin cancer in the future, these behaviors should continue throughout life.
Additionally, the AADA is disappointed that the USPSTF found insufficient evidence to recommend counseling on skin self-exams. Skin cancer, including melanoma, is highly treatable when detected early, and conducting regular self-exams can facilitate early detection.
The AADA encourages everyone to be their own health advocate by conducting regular self-exams to check themselves for signs of skin cancer. If you notice any new or suspicious spots on your skin, or any spots that are changing, itching or bleeding, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.
About the AADA
Headquartered in Rosemont, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential and most representative of all dermatologic associations. A sister organization to the Academy, the American Academy of Dermatology Association is the resource for government affairs, health policy and practice information for dermatologists, and plays a major role in formulating policies that can enhance the quality of dermatologic care. With a membership of more than 19,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to excellence in the diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of skin disease; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education and research in medical dermatology, surgical dermatology and dermatopathology; and supporting and enhancing patient care to reduce the burden of disease. For more information, contact the Academy at (888) 462-DERM (3376) or aad.org. Follow the Academy on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin) and YouTube (AcademyofDermatology).