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Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, affecting 5 million individuals each year. The two most common types of skin cancer—basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas—are highly curable, but can be disfiguring and costly. Melanoma, the third most common skin cancer, is the deadliest kind of skin cancer, resulting in more than 9,000 deaths each year. Most cases of skin cancer are preventable, but despite efforts to address risk factors, skin cancer rates have continued to increase in the United States and worldwide.

The most preventable cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light either from the sun or from artificial sources like tanning beds. Rates of sunburn remain high, affecting one-third of Americans each year as a result of overexposure to UV rays. Indoor tanning is especially dangerous, resulting in an estimated 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year. Skin cancer is a serious public health concern and it will take a comprehensive approach, involving healthcare providers, community partners, and business and government leaders working together to provide individuals with the information they need to reduce UV exposure and promote policies that advance the national goal of preventing skin cancer.

In this session of Grand Rounds our esteemed panel discussed the prevention and control of skin cancer, with particular attention to how we all can help people protect their skin and their lives while enjoying the outdoors.

Beyond the Data - Prevention and Control of Skin Cancer

Dr. John Iskander and Dr. Lisa Richardson discuss how you can prevent skin cancer. Find out what CDC and public health officials are doing and what communities are doing to keep people safe from the sun.

Beyond the Data

Dr. John Iskander and Admiral Boris Lushniak discuss the dangers of skin cancer and the actions that individuals, clinicians, policy makers and public health professionals can take to help people protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors.

Individuals should:

  • Avoid natural and artificial tanning
  • Seek shade, especially during peak sun
  • Put on sunscreen and protective clothing

Clinicians should:

  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of skin cancer
  • Be knowledgeable about proper diagnosis

Policy makers should:

  • Introduce shade policies in outdoor recreation areas
  • Consider restrictions on the use of artificial tanning facilities

Public Health must:

  • Improve surveillance efforts
  • Identify prevention strategies that work
  • Strengthen communication about the risks

Presented By

Meg Watson, MPH
Epidemiologist, Epidemiology and Applied Research Branch,
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC
Sharon McKenna, BA
Program Manager, Arizona SunWise Skin Cancer Prevention Program,
Bureau of Epidemiology Disease Control

Arizona Department of Health Services
Jeff Gershenwald, MD
Medical Director, Melanoma and Skin Center
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
RADM Boris Lushniak, MD, MPH
Deputy Surgeon General

Facilitated By

John Iskander, MD, MPH
Scientific Director
Phoebe Thorpe, MD, MPH
Deputy Scientific Director
Susan Laird, MSN, RN
Communications Director

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Continuing Education

This session is available for Continuing Education (CE). Register here using the course information below.

CDC Course Code: PHGR10

For more information, see Grand Rounds Continuing Education.

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  • Page last reviewed: June 6, 2018
  • Page last updated: June 6, 2018
  • Content source:
    • Office of the Associate Director for Science
    • Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication
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