Skin cancer prevention

J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2013 Apr;11(4):283-96; quiz 297-8. doi: 10.1111/ddg.12066.


Prevention signifies the avoidance of diseases. It also includes the early detection of diseases and taking measures to avoid worsening of an existing disease. Prevention is divided into primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. The prevention of skin cancer is particularly important due to the rising incidence of skin cancer in recent years. In Germany, 195.000 new cases of skin cancer, including non melanoma skin cancer and melanoma are occurring. Therefore, skin cancer is among the most common cancer diseases. Primary prevention comprises the reduction of skin cancer risk behavior, including education about the danger of UV exposure and the right way of dealing with natural and artificial UV radiation. The implementation of a systematic skin cancer screening in Germany contributes to secondary prevention. First data from the initial project in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany's most northern state, indicate for the first time that the incidence and mortality of melanoma can be reduced by secondary prevention. For tertiary prevention, the national associations recommend a risk-adapted, evidence-based follow-up for all types of skin cancer. From the perspectives of the payers and from the patients, prevention is assessed positively. Prevention can contribute to a reduction of disease burden.

MeSH terms

  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Prevention / methods
  • Primary Prevention / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control*