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  • Educating the public on known risk factors for skin cancer can help reduce the long-term burden of skin cancer.

  • New platforms for education allow dermatologists to reach a larger audience.

  • Educating skin of color patients comes with its challenges, and it starts with understanding that all patients can be at risk for skin cancer.


  • Multidisciplinary action is needed for skin cancer education, which includes, but is not limited to, dermatologists, public health experts, pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies, and researchers.

  • Expanding skin cancer education through different platforms and including skin of color patients may reduce the morbidity and mortality of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer.


  • Skin cancer is a preventable disease that can be avoided with proper patient education.


  • Patients should speak to their dermatologist about skin cancer prevention and seek medical attention for suspicious, new, or worsening lesions. Dermatologists can recommend frequent full-body skin examinations and proper ultraviolet radiation protection and discuss current products on the market to prevent skin cancer.


Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide. Although skin cancers are likely underreported due to the lack of uniform data collection and limited registry requirements, more than 9500 people are diagnosed every day with skin cancer.1,2 Attempting to educate the public is not new, as public education and public awareness of skin cancer have been ongoing for over 60 years.3 There have been a variety of efforts to improve the general population’s understanding of the underlying factors that contribute to the development of skin cancer. Advancements in technology and improved propagation of research have resulted in new opportunities, and dermatologists have an essential role to play in the education and awareness of skin cancer.


Although efforts to improve patient understanding of proper protection from ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun have been ongoing since the 1970s, more recent data on sun protection have clouded the public health message and been contradictory. After many years of dermatologists recommending sunscreen as the first line of defense for skin cancer prevention, reports on chemical sunscreens potentially causing personal and environmental harm are deterring patients from their use.4,5 The state of Hawaii and some cities in Florida have passed laws banning chemical sunscreen, with many countries projected to adopt similar legislation. Although dermatologists often advocate against UVR exposure to increase vitamin D levels, at times, exposure is recommended by dermatologists and others for the treatment of psoriasis, pruritus, and seasonal affective disorder.5 Therefore, without a clear message, patients become confused on if and how they should be practicing sun protection, underscoring the need for proper education on skin cancer prevention.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency ...

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