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Community-Based Skin Cancer Prevention that Works

New publications feature evidence behind two Task Force findings for multicomponent community-wide programs and mass media campaigns to prevent skin cancer.

Task Force findings are based on systematic reviews of the literature that are conducted by scientists and subject matter experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The reviews were carried out with Task Force oversight, in collaboration with a wide range of government, academic, policy, and practice-based partners.

Why are the Task Force findings important?

As the most common type of cancer in the United States, skin cancer is an urgent yet often preventable public health problem (Lomas 2012; Stern 2010).

  • The number of Americans who have had skin cancer at some point in the last three decades is estimated to be greater than for all other cancers combined (Lomas 2012; Stern 2010).
  • Most skin cancers are non-melanoma skin cancers such as basal and squamous cell carcinomas, which are usually treatable but can be disfiguring and costly to treat (Machlin 2011; Guy & Ekwueme 2011).
  • Melanoma, one of the most common cancers among adults under the age of 40, can be deadly (Weir 2011). In 2013, nearly than 72,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with melanoma, and more than 9,000 people died from the disease (USCS Working Group 2016).

In addition to the health burden, skin cancer treatment causes substantial healthcare costs for individuals, families, and the nation. The annual economic burden of treating skin cancer in the U.S. is $5.3 billion (Machlin 2011; Mariotto 2011).

What are the Task Force and Community Guide?

  • The Community Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force) is an independent, nonfederal, unpaid panel of public health and prevention experts. The Task Force works to improve the health of all Americans by providing evidence-based recommendations about community preventive programs, services, and policies to improve health. Task Force members represent a broad range of research, practice, and policy expertise in community prevention services, public health, health promotion, and disease prevention.
  • The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide) is a website that is a collection of all the evidence-based findings and recommendations of the Community Preventive Services Task Force.

For More Information


Guy GP Jr, Ekwueme DU.Years of potential life lost and indirect costs of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer: a systematic review of the literature. Pharmacoeconomics 2011;29(10):863–874.

Lomas A, Leonardi-Bee J, Bath-Hextall F. A systematic review of worldwide incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer. The British Journal of Dermatology. 2012;166(5):1069-1080.

Machlin S., Carper, K., and Kashihara, D. Health Care Expenditures for Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer among Adults, 2005-2008 (Average Annual). Statistical Brief #345. November 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

Mariotto AB, Robin Yabroff K, Shao Y, Feuer EJ, Brown ML. Projections of the Cost of Cancer Care in the United States: 2010-2020. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2011;103(2):117-128.

Stern RS. Prevalence of a history of skin cancer in 2007: results of an incidence-based model. Arch Dermatol. 2010;146(3):279-282.

U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2013 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2016. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/uscs External Web Site Icon.

Weir HK, Marrett LD, Cokkinides V, et al. Melanoma in adolescents and young adults (ages 15-39 years): United States, 1999-2006. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011;65(5 Suppl 1):S38-49.