Preventing skin cancer: findings of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services On reducing Exposure to Ultraviolet Light

MMWR Recomm Rep. 2003 Oct 17;52(RR-15):1-12.


Rates of skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States, are increasing. The most preventable risk factor for skin cancer is unprotected ultraviolet (UV) exposure. Seeking to identify effective approaches to reducing the incidence of skin cancer by improving individual and community efforts to reduce unprotected UV exposure, the Task Force on Community Preventive Services conducted systematic reviews of community interventions to reduce exposure to ultraviolet light and increase protective behaviors. The Task Force found sufficient evidence to recommend two interventions that are based on improvements in sun protective or "covering-up" behavior (wearing protective clothing including long-sleeved clothing or hats): educational and policy approaches in two settings--primary schools and recreational or tourism sites. They found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of a range of other population-based interventions and recommended additional research in these areas: educational and policy approaches in child care centers, secondary schools and colleges, recreational or tourism sites for children, and workplaces; interventions conducted in health-care settings and targeted to both providers and children's parents or caregivers; media campaigns alone; and community wide multicomponent interventions. This report also presents additional information regarding the recommended community interventions, briefly describes how the reviews were conducted, provides resources for further information, and provides information that can help in applying the interventions locally. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force conducted a systematic review of counseling by primary care clinicians to prevent skin cancer (CDC. Counseling to prevent skin cancer: recommendation and rationale of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. MMWR 2003;52[No. RR-15]:13-17), which is also included in this issue, the first jointly released findings from the Task Force on Community Preventive Services and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

MeSH terms

  • Clothing
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Health Education*
  • Humans
  • Recreation
  • Schools
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Sunscreening Agents
  • Ultraviolet Rays*


  • Sunscreening Agents