In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Skin Cancer Prevention

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Review Articles and Evidence Reviews
  • Comprehensive Community Programs and Mass Media
  • High-Risk Groups
  • Screening and Early Detection
  • Indoor Tanning and Solaria
  • Measurement and Methodology

Public Health Skin Cancer Prevention
Karen Glanz
  • LAST REVIEWED: 23 February 2011
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 February 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0056


Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, with more than 1 million Americans diagnosed with it each year. The incidence of skin cancer has increased dramatically worldwide since 2000. Both main types of skin cancer—malignant melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC)—are now significant public health concerns. Yet even though skin cancer rates are increasing, it is considered one of the most preventable types of cancer. Prevention guidelines include reducing exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR); adopting sun protection habits, including the use of sunscreen, hats, shirts, and sunglasses; performing regular skin self-examination; and seeking professional evaluation of suspicious skin changes. Most skin cancer prevention interventions reported in the literature are directed at the general population through school-based curricula, multicomponent community programs, or media campaigns, and some recent trials have targeted people with high sun exposure at work or during outdoor recreation. Children and adolescents are important audiences for skin cancer prevention. This article identifies bibliographic resources related to skin cancer prevention for the general population and groups at increased risk because of genetic traits or environmental exposures. Current and recent books and research articles are included, along with works addressing issues in measurement and methodology for research and evaluation of skin cancer prevention.

General Overviews

Hill, et al. 2004 and Ringborg, et al. 2007 are among the few books focusing specifically on skin cancer prevention. More often, books focus on cancer prevention more generally, or on skin cancer diagnosis and treatment with some coverage of prevention. The two edited volumes cover skin cancer prevention from epidemiological, environmental, and behavioral perspectives. Both books also include chapters written by international authors from a variety of disciplines. They cover epidemiologic, genetic, environmental, and physical and behavioral science perspectives on skin cancer prevention and provide broad background information for both experienced readers and those new to this subject.

  • Hill, David, J. Mark Elwood, and Dallas R. English, eds. 2004. Prevention of skin cancer. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic.

    Covers skin cancer prevention from the etiology and epidemiology of skin cancer and its prevention to the efficacy of interventions. Provides good coverage of environmental issues such as solar and ultraviolet radiation and stratospheric ozone depletion. This book includes a focus on the implications of each chapter for public health.

  • Ringborg, Ulrik, Yvonne Brandberg, Eckhard W. Breitbart, and Rudiger Greinert, eds. 2007. Skin cancer prevention. New York: Informa Healthcare.

    This edited volume includes chapters on basic science research on etiology, as well as clinical and public health aspects of skin cancer and its prevention. Importantly, there are different chapters on melanoma and nonmelanoma types of skin cancer, as well as chapters on solaria, sunscreens, vitamin D, the UV Index in international contexts, and health economics aspects of skin cancer prevention.

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