Virginia A. Moyer, MD, MPH; on behalf of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
Disclaimer: Recommendations made by the USPSTF are independent of the U.S. government. They should not be construed as an official position of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Financial Support: The USPSTF is an independent, voluntary body. The U.S. Congress mandates that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality support the operations of the USPSTF.
Potential Conflicts of Interest: Disclosure forms from USPSTF members can be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M12-0798.
Requests for Single Reprints: Reprints are available from the USPSTF Web site (www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org).
Update of the 2003 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation statement on counseling to prevent skin cancer.
The USPSTF performed a targeted literature search for new evidence that counseling patients about sun protection reduces intermediate outcomes (such as sunburn) or skin cancer. Other key questions addressed the link between counseling and behavior change, the link between behavior change and incidence of skin cancer, and the adverse effects of counseling or sun-protective behavior changes.
The USPSTF recommends counseling children, adolescents, and young adults aged 10 to 24 years who have fair skin about minimizing their exposure to ultraviolet radiation to reduce risk for skin cancer (B recommendation).
The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of counseling adults older than 24 years about minimizing risks to prevent skin cancer (I statement).
Behavioral counseling to prevent skin cancer: clinical summary of U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation.
What the USPSTF Grades Mean and Suggestions for Practice
Levels of Certainty Regarding Net Benefit
The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.
Scott E, Kinkade, Physician
University of Missouri School of Medicine
May 8, 2012
Counseling burden vs benefit?
As recommendations for counseling patients increase, the number of things that can be done during a typical outpatient visit decreases.
Most USPSTF recommendations are based on how well the intervention does to save lives and prevent disease.
How many patients need to be counseled to prevent skin cancer? No idea. It could be that a million patients need to be counseled to prevent one case of skin cancer. And to prevent a death? There is no telling how many would need to be counseled.
Moyer VA, OBOTUPSTF. Behavioral Counseling to Prevent Skin Cancer: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. Ann Intern Med. 2012;157:59–65. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-157-1-201207030-00442
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 2012;157(1):59-65.
Cancer Screening/Prevention, Guidelines, Hematology/Oncology, Prevention/Screening.
Results provided by:
Copyright © 2017 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only