Docs rarely discuss sunscreens with patients, study finds

September 5, 2013
Docs rarely discuss sunscreens with patients, study finds
That's true even when the patient has a prior history of skin cancer.

(HealthDay)—Even if you've suffered skin cancer in the past, it's unlikely your doctor will mention sunscreen during the average office visit, a new study finds.

A team led by Dr. Kristie Akamine of Wake Forest School of Medicine looked over national data compiled at doctors' offices from 1989 through 2010.

Overall, doctors mentioned sunscreen to their patients at about 12.8 million office visits—just 0.07 percent of all appointments recorded.

That rate increased a bit, to 0.9 percent, when the office visit involved the diagnosis of a , according to the study, which was published Sept. 4 in the journal JAMA Dermatology.

Sunscreen use was mentioned least frequently to children.

"[That finding] is concerning because children and adolescents get the most sun exposure of any age group, as they tend to spend much of their time playing outdoors," Akamine's team wrote. "Up to 80 percent of is thought to occur before age 21, and sunburns in childhood greatly increase the risk for future melanoma."

Two experts agreed that doctors should make time to encourage .

"With the increasing numbers of topics primary-care physicians may have to cover during an average office visit, it's not surprising that mentioning sunscreen application may fall to the bottom of the list," said Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

"However, we now know that all wavelengths of , both UVA and UVB, are known carcinogens," she said. "Our best measure against and premature aging of the skin is to use sunscreen on a daily basis and to reapply every few hours when out for extended periods."

Dr. Patricia Mucci LoRusso is a team leader on the Melanoma Dream Team at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit. She said reducing your exposure to UV rays is "the only recognized modifiable risk factor for melanoma."

She called the low rate of advisories by doctors "dismal," and said the research highlights that "health care providers play a large role in preventive education regarding melanoma."

Explore further: Melanoma rates rising in US children

More information: The U.S. National Institutes of Health provides more information on sunscreen.

Related Stories

Melanoma rates rising in US children

April 3, 2013
(HealthDay)—Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, doesn't usually occur in kids, but a new study shows that it's happening more often.

Look for new, improved sunscreen labels

May 10, 2013
(HealthDay)—New labeling laws for sunscreen will help American consumers choose the product that provides the best sun protection, experts say.

Preventing the skin cancer, not just the sunburn

March 14, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- With the first day of spring just one week away, anyone who spends time in the sun should be aware of new sunscreen regulations designed to help prevent skin cancer.

Some melanoma survivors still use tanning beds, skip sunscreen

April 9, 2013
Although most survivors of melanoma take precautions to protect their skin from the sun and further occurrences of cancer, data presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2013, held in Washington, D.C., April 6-10, revealed that ...

UK rays responsible for more than a third of most recent sunburn cases

September 3, 2013
As temperatures soar this week, new figures from Cancer Research UK and NIVEA SUN show that 37 per cent of people admit the last time they were sunburnt was in the UK.

Red hair pigment might raise melanoma risk, study says

May 9, 2013
(HealthDay)—The red in redheads' hair is thought to put them at increased risk of the dangerous skin cancer melanoma, even if they don't spend a lot of time in the sun, according to a new study.

Recommended for you

The environmental injustice of beauty

August 16, 2017
Women of color have higher levels of beauty-product-related chemicals in their bodies compared to white women, according to a commentary published today in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The authors say ...

Heavily used pesticide linked to breathing problems in farmworkers' children

August 15, 2017
Elemental sulfur, the most heavily used pesticide in California, may harm the respiratory health of children living near farms that use the pesticide, according to new research led by UC Berkeley.

Taking a stand on staying mobile after 80

August 14, 2017
(HealthDay)—If you want to stay as fit as possible well into your 80s, the answer may be as simple as standing on your own two feet.

Binge-watching 'The Walking Dead?' You might feel like a zombie yourself

August 14, 2017
Binge-watching is a great way for young adults to catch up on multiple episodes of their favorite television series like "The Walking Dead" or "Game of Thrones," but it comes at a price.

Bugs on the menu at Swiss supermarket

August 14, 2017
Switzerland's first insect-based food aimed at humans will go on sale next week following a revision of the country's food safety laws, a supermarket chain said Monday.

Why social smoking can be just as bad for you as daily smoking

August 14, 2017
"Everything in moderation." It's a common justification made for behaviors that may fall outside the realm of healthy. Whether it's a drink or two or indulging in a favorite dessert, consuming small quantities, rather than ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.