The incidence and mortality rates of skin cancer are rising in the United States and in many other countries. Concerns about stratospheric ozone depletion adding to the problem have made many organizations look at public and professional health programs as a possible solution. Early detection can reduce the problem in the short term, because mortality due to melanoma is clearly related to the depth of invasion of the tumor when it is removed. This is the factor which is amenable to change in an education program on early detection. Exposure to sunlight is clearly related to risk of development of skin cancer, including both melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers. This is the component of the equation of constitutional predisposition plus exposure to environmental risk factors leading to skin cancer that is amenable to change as a result of educational programs. On the basis of available data, there is a case for further development, provision, and evaluation of public and professional education programs designed to control what is becoming a major public health problem in the community.