Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to site content
CDC Home

Announcement: Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer

On July 29, the Office of the Surgeon General released its Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer ( Skin cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the United States, with nearly 5 million persons treated each year, at an estimated cost of $8.1 billion dollars (1–4). Melanoma is responsible for most skin cancer–related deaths, causing approximately 9,000 deaths annually (5).

Most cases of skin cancer are preventable, yet skin cancer rates have continued to increase in the United States during the past 35 years (6). Despite efforts to increase use of sun protection, approximately one third of U.S. residents reported being sunburned in the past year (7). In addition, indoor tanning greatly increases the risk for developing skin cancer, yet one out of every three non-Hispanic white women aged 16–25 years engages in indoor tanning each year (8).

The purpose of the Surgeon General's Call to Action is to increase awareness of skin cancer as a national public health priority, as well as to engage stakeholders across the nation, including policy makers; members of the business, health care, and education sectors; community, nonprofit, and faith-based organizations; and individuals and families, all with concrete strategies to reduce the risk for skin cancer.


  1. Lomas A, Leonardi-Bee J, Bath-Hextall F. A systematic review of worldwide incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer. Br J Dermatol 2012;
  2. Rogers HW, Weinstock MA, Harris AR, et al. Incidence estimate of nonmelanoma skin cancer in the United States, 2006. Arch Dermatol 2010;146:283–7.
  3. Armstrong BK, Kricker A. The epidemiology of UV induced skin cancer. J Photochem Photobiol B 2001;63:8–18.
  4. Guy GP, Machlin S, Ekwueme DU, Yabroff KR. Prevalence and costs of skin cancer treatment in the US, 2002–2006 and 2007–2011. Am J Prev Med.In press 2014.
  5. US Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2010 incidence and mortality. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute; 2013. Available at
  6. National Cancer Institute. Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program. SEER 9 Incidence Database (1973–2010). Bethesda, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute; 2014. Available at
  7. Holman DM, Berkowitz Z, Guy GP, Hartman AM, Perna FM. The association between demographic and behavioral characteristics and sunburn among U.S. Adults—National Health Interview Survey, 2010. Prev Med 2014;63:6–12.
  8. Guy GP, Berkowitz Z, Watson M, Holman DM, Richardson LC. Indoor tanning among young non-Hispanic white females. JAMA Intern Med 2013;173:1920–2.

Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

References to non-CDC sites on the Internet are provided as a service to MMWR readers and do not constitute or imply endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CDC is not responsible for the content of pages found at these sites. URL addresses listed in MMWR were current as of the date of publication.

All MMWR HTML versions of articles are electronic conversions from typeset documents. This conversion might result in character translation or format errors in the HTML version. Users are referred to the electronic PDF version ( and/or the original MMWR paper copy for printable versions of official text, figures, and tables. An original paper copy of this issue can be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402-9371; telephone: (202) 512-1800. Contact GPO for current prices.

**Questions or messages regarding errors in formatting should be addressed to The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO
A-Z Index
  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #