Skin Cancer Prevention 2019

4 2019 Skin Cancer Prevention Progress Report FOREWORD FROM THE SURGEON GENERAL U S Department of Health and Human Services Skin cancer is far too common, often preventable, and holds a deep personal connection for me and my family. My own wife was diagnosed with and recently completed treatment for melanoma. Unfortunately, my family’s situation is far from unique. I believe we can and must do more to reverse the trend of increasing skin cancer diagnoses in our country. Five years ago, the release of the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer raised awareness of skin cancer as an urgent public health problem. As a roadmap for moving forward, the Call to Action reflected the persistent and passionate work of partners from across the country, united by a shared vision of a future without skin cancer. We know most skin cancers can be prevented through adequate use of sun protection and avoidance of indoor tanning. Since the release of the Call to Action , we have made important strides in these areas. Twenty-one states have passed laws to protect those under the age of 18 from the harms of indoor tanning. Meanwhile, data collected from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey has proven that age restriction laws are working to reduce indoor tanning, particularly among high school girls. Colleges and universities have also taken action, with many pledging to end policies and practices that unintentionally promote indoor tanning among their students. Twenty-three states now have laws to improve access to sunscreen for children, including 22 states with laws that speak directly to children’s ability to carry and self- apply sunscreen at school. Across the country, many organizations have made it easier for visitors of all ages to be sun safe while outdoors, by installing shade structures and free sunscreen dispensers at public parks, playgrounds, pools, and sports fields. Research has shed light on best practices for skin cancer prevention communication for a variety of target audiences. We’ve advanced our understanding of the many contexts in which sun protection is needed, beyond the beach and the pool. Continued national surveillance efforts have further allowed us to track progress and identify gaps. We have come a long way, but skin cancer remains a serious threat to our public’s health. Each year, one out of three adults and more than half of high school students get sunburned. An estimated 900,000 high school students and 7.8 million adults continue to put themselves at risk by using indoor tanning devices, which remain available and often unsupervised in many gyms, fitness centers, apartment complexes, and salons. This has resulted in an unfortunate but steady rise in skin cancer incidence rates. As you review this progress report, I ask that you acknowledge, celebrate, and share the progress we’ve made to prevent skin cancer. But I also hope you recognize those areas where we are falling short, and where you can commit to a redoubling of our efforts. We can each play a role and make a positive difference. So join me as we continue our quest to make skin cancer prevention a reality. Jerome M. Adams, M.D., M.P.H. Vice Admiral, U.S. Public Health Service Surgeon General U.S. Department of Health and Human Services