Couple walking in the woods wearing a wide-brimmed hat and long-sleeved shirtsStaying in the shade and wearing a wide-brimmed hat are good ways to protect your skin from the sun.

In July 2014, the Office of the Surgeon General released The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer, establishing skin cancer prevention as a high priority for our nation. The Call to Action described prevention strategies that work and called on all community sectors to address skin cancer as a major public health problem.

Since the release of the Call to Action, a growing community of partners at the national, state, and local levels has taken great strides to help prevent skin cancer in the United States. This fourth annual Skin Cancer Prevention Progress Report [PDF-14MB] provides a comprehensive summary of the most recent data and highlights developments and success stories since the release of the 2017 Progress Report. By continuing to update the report annually, we can monitor progress, learn from successes, recognize areas that need improvement, and identify opportunities to work with partners to protect the public against skin cancer.

What’s New This Year?

Below are some highlights of CDC’s skin cancer research over the past year.

Sun Safety Practices Are Uncommon in Schools

This article in JAMA Dermatology in March 2017 found that most schools need to increase sun safety practices for children and teens.

Adults Who Tan Indoors or Had a Recent Sunburn Are More Likely to Tan Outdoors

This article in Preventive Medicine in August 2017 found that outdoor tanning was more common among women, non-Hispanic white people, and younger adults (18 to 29 years old). People who tan indoors and those who had been sunburned recently were also more likely to tan outdoors.

Clinical Counseling on Sun Protection Is Low among Pediatricians

In December 2017, Pediatrics published an article that found that pediatricians rarely talk to their patients about sun protection and avoiding indoor tanning. The doctors said they don’t have enough time.

Melanoma Rates on the Rise among Non-Hispanic White Adults Aged 55+

A research letter in JAMA Dermatology in January 2018 found that more than 70% of cases of melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancr, were diagnosed in adults who were 55 years old or older. During 2005 to 2014, the rates of getting melanoma went up among non-Hispanic white adults who were 55 years or older, and went down among non-Hispanic white adults who were younger than 45 years.

One in Three U.S. Adults Was Sunburned in 2015

In March 2018, JAMA Dermatology published an article on how adults in the United States protect themselves from the sun, and how often they get sunburned. It found that both men and women used shade most often to protect themselves from the sun. After shade, women most often used sunscreen, and men most often used long pants. One-third of adults had been sunburned in the past year, and about half of adults who were 30 years old or younger and half of adults with sun-sensitive skin had been sunburned. Sunburn was also linked with aerobic activity, binge drinking, and the use of sunless tanning products.

Past Reports






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