USPSTF: Fair-Skin Youths Should be Counselled on Minimizing UV Exposure

The task force deemed counseling for those aged 6 months to 24 years to prevent skin cancer a B recommendation
The task force deemed counseling for those aged 6 months to 24 years to prevent skin cancer a B recommendation

HealthDay News — The U.S Preventive Services Task Force recommends counseling to prevent skin cancer for fair-skinned children and young adults, while selective counseling is recommended for adults aged over 24 years. These findings form the basis of a final recommendation statement published in the March 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Nora B. Henrikson, PhD, MPH, from the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, and colleagues systematically reviewed the evidence on the benefits and harms of behavioral counseling for skin cancer prevention. Twenty-one trials were included, with 20,561 participants. 

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The Task Force determined that for children and young adults with fair skin, behavioral counseling interventions were of moderate benefit in increasing sun protection behaviors. Evidence was adequate that behavioral counseling resulted in a small increase in sun protection behaviors for those aged older than 24 years. Based on these findings, in order to reduce the risk of skin cancer, the USPSTF recommends counseling regarding minimizing exposure to ultraviolet radiation for those aged 6 months to 24 years with fair skin types (B recommendation). Counseling should be selectively offered to adults aged older than 24 years with fair skin (C recommendation). The evidence was inadequate to assess the balance of benefits and harms of counseling about skin self-examination (I statement).

"We have more evidence now, that tells us that counseling people to practice sun protective behaviors can benefit some adults with fair skin types," Task Force member Karina W. Davidson, Ph.D., said in a statement.

Evidence Report
Final Recommendation Statement
Editorial