The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended that clinicians counsel fair-skinned young adults, adolescents, children, and parents of young children about minimizing exposure to ultraviolet radiation to reduce their risk of skin cancer, in a draft recommendation statement that is available online.

The grade B recommendation applies to asymptomatic individuals who have fair skin, are aged 6 months to 24 years, and have no history of skin cancer; the recommendation is being issued because members of this population are at increased risk and are the subject of most of the existing research on skin cancer counseling, according to the USPSTF. The task force found a moderate net benefit when clinicians in a primary care setting offered behavioral counseling on skin cancer prevention to members of this population.

The task force also drafted a grade C recommendation (providing a small net benefit) for skin cancer behavioral counseling for adults older than 24 years but found insufficient evidence (grade I) to comment on the value of counseling adults about performing skin exams on themselves. “Existing evidence indicates that the net benefit of counseling all adults older than age 24 years is small. In determining whether this service is appropriate in individual cases, patients and clinicians should consider the presence of risk factors for skin cancer,” according to the summary of the draft recommendation.

The draft recommendation is open for public comment until 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Nov. 6, 2017.

The draft recommendation can be viewed and comments can be submitted online at the USPSTF site.


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