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MMWR Recomm Rep. 2003 Oct 17;52(RR-15):13-7.

Counseling to prevent skin cancer: recommendations and rationale of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.


This statement summarizes the current U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation on counseling to prevent skin cancer and the supporting scientific evidence, and updates the 1996 recommendation contained in the Guide to Clinical Preventive Services, Second Edition (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for skin cancer. In: Guide to clinical preventive services, 2nd ed. Washington DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 1996:141-52). The USPSTF finds insufficient evidence to recommend for or against routine counseling by primary care clinicians to prevent skin cancer. Although counseling parents may increase children's use of sunscreen, the USPSTF found little evidence to determine the effects of counseling on the sun protection behaviors of adults. These behaviors include wearing protective clothing, reducing excessive sun exposure, avoiding sun lamps and tanning beds, or practicing skin self-examination. The USPSTF, an independent panel of private sector experts in primary care and prevention, systematically reviews the evidence of effectiveness of a wide range of clinical preventive services, including screening tests, counseling, and chemoprevention. Members of the USPSTF represent the fields of family medicine, gerontology, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, nursing, and prevention research.

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