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J Community Health. 1997 Jun;22(3):175-83.

Skin cancer prevention: a time for action.

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  • 1Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.


Skin cancer is the most common malignancy in the United States accounting for more than 840,000 cases and 9,400 deaths annually. It is estimated that 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers and much of melanoma incidence can be attributed to sun exposure. The evidence suggests that regular use of sunscreen (Sun Protective Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher), wearing protective, tightly woven clothing and wide brimmed hats, and avoiding sun exposure when the ultraviolet rays are strongest (between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.) can dramatically reduce the risk of skin cancer. Interventions to promote sun-protection behaviors that target children and adults are necessary to reduce the growing incidence rate of skin cancer in the United States.

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