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What Comprehensive Cancer Control Programs Can Do About Indoor Tanning Among Minors

Collect and Analyze Data

  • Conduct an environmental scan to identify indoor tanning legislation in your area. Most of this information may be available online.
  • Work with your state’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) coordinator to add a question on indoor tanning to the your state’s YRBS if it is not included already (see Box 1 below).
  • Use YRBS data to monitor indoor tanning among high school students in your state.
  • Use cancer registry data to examine melanoma incidence and death rates in your area. Look at trends over time by age group, race, and ethnicity.
  • Look for other data that may be available for analysis. Examples include administrative data on the number and locations of salons and other businesses that provide indoor tanning in your area.
  • Monitor changes in data over time to determine if your efforts to reduce indoor tanning among minors are making a difference.52
  • Develop a survey on a specific topic such as a whether primary care doctors in your area are counseling minors about skin cancer prevention.

Box 1. State Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS): Potential indoor tanning question

The prevalence of indoor tanning among high school students in your state can be estimated by including the following question:

During the past 12 months, how many times did you use an indoor tanning device such as a sunlamp, sunbed, or tanning booth? (Do not count getting a spray-on tan)

  1. 0 times
  2. 1 or 2 times
  3. 3 to 9 times
  4. 10 to 19 times
  5. 20 to 39 times
  6. 40 or more times

Identify and Engage Potential Partners

  • Educate CCC coalition members about melanoma rates and trends in your area.
  • Identify potential partners at local and national levels and ask them to help you educate key stakeholders on strategies to reduce indoor tanning among minors.
  • Share current data on skin cancer rates and indoor tanning use with partners.
  • Provide information upon request to partners and stakeholders within your area.
  • Share other resources such as CDC’s Burning Truth communication initiative, CDC’s “The Truth About Tanning” infographic, CDC’s Sun Safety for America’s Youth toolkit, and EPA’s state skin cancer fact sheets with the appropriate partners.
  • Encourage melanoma survivors to share their stories and serve as champions for skin cancer prevention in their community. Survivors can include young adults and teens (with parental permission).
  • Partner with health systems and medical societies to promote USPSTF recommendations on behavioral counseling to prevent skin cancer and screening for skin cancer (see Box 2 below).53
  • Survey key partners to identify their needs and what resources they can add to your efforts.
  • Partner with local colleges and universities to develop and evaluate strategies to reduce indoor tanning among young people.

Box 2. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations related to skin cancer prevention

Behavioral Counseling to Prevent Skin Cancer
Released May 2012

  • 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.
    Grade: B Recommendation
  • The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of counseling adults older than age 24 years about minimizing risks to prevent skin cancer.
    Grade: I Statement

Screening for Skin Cancer
Released February 2009

  • The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of using a whole-body skin examination by a primary care clinician or patient skin self-examination for the early detection of cutaneous melanoma, basal cell cancer, or squamous cell skin cancer in the adult general population.
    Grade: I Statement

Measure Your Effects

Use CDC’s Comprehensive Cancer Control Branch Program Evaluation Toolkit to develop an evaluation plan to help you measure the effects of your efforts to reduce indoor tanning among minors. Develop your evaluation plan before intervention activities begin, if possible, to ensure that appropriate evaluation questions and data sources are in place to capture baseline information. Share your evaluation results with other CCC programs to help identify effective strategies that can be replicated in other areas.

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