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What CDC Is Doing About Skin Cancer

CDC provides leadership for nationwide efforts to reduce illness and death caused by skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the United States. Some activities are listed below.

CDC Vital Signs: Preventing Melanoma

The rates of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are going up. Without more prevention efforts, melanoma will continue to increase in the next 15 years. This issue of Vital Signs explains how community skin cancer prevention programs can prevent future melanoma cases and decrease treatment costs.

Policies and Practices for Cancer Prevention: Reducing Indoor Tanning Among Minors

This report explains that public health community plays an important role in educating young people about protecting themselves from the harms of indoor tanning. Many public health efforts focus on educational and messaging strategies. Other efforts focus on providing the scientific evidence that can inform policy approaches, including regulatory or legislative strategies, to reduce indoor tanning among minors. By incorporating the scientific evidence and lessons learned from local, state, national, and international public health communities, we can coordinate our efforts and best use our resources to protect the future health of today’s youth.

The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer

Despite efforts to address skin cancer risk factors such as inadequate sun protection and intentional tanning behaviors, skin cancer rates, including rates of melanoma, have continued to increase in the United States and worldwide. CDC supported The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer, which aimed to increase skin cancer awareness and called for actions to reduce its risk.

Research and Surveillance

  • Indoor Tanning Among Adults in the United States found that indoor tanning is declining in the United States, but nearly 10 million adults still tan each year.
  • Sunscreen Use Among Adults in the United States found that sunscreen use is particularly low among men, non-Hispanic blacks, people with less sun-sensitive skin, and people with lower incomes.
  • CDC scientists published two papers in a special issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that discuss ways to reduce indoor tanning and prevent future cases of skin cancer.
  • CDC published a journal supplement about melanoma in the United States.
  • Two studies used data from nationwide surveys to look at indoor tanning among U.S. adults and sun-protective behaviors and sunburn among adults under age 30.
  • Survey data were used to look at sunscreen use and indoor tanning among high school students, as well as factors related to indoor tanning among male high school students.

See all of CDC’s skin cancer research.

Shade Planning Manual [PDF-1.2MB]

The Shade Planning for America’s Schools manual helps schools ensure school grounds have adequate shade.

Couple walking in the woods wearing a wide-brimmed hat and long-sleeved shirts.

Skin Cancer Prevention Progress Report

The report summarizes recent prevention efforts and highlights new data, developments, and success stories. By updating this report annually, we will monitor progress, celebrate and learn from successes, recognize areas that need improvement, and identify opportunities to work with partners in government, health care, education, business, and the community.

The Burning Truth.

Burning Truth Communication Initiative

This initiative encouraged young people to keep their skin healthy and beautiful for life by protecting themselves from too much exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning beds.

Photo of five children.

Guidelines for School Programs to Prevent Skin Cancer

These guidelines were designed to provide schools with a comprehensive approach to preventing skin cancer among adolescents and young people.