Study Finds Low Rate of Physicians’ Mention of Sunscreen Use at Patient Visits

September 4, 2013

JAMA Dermatology Study Highlights

Physicians mention sunscreen at a low rate during patient visits, even to patients with a history of skin cancer, according to a study by Kristie L. Akamine, M.D., Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C., and colleagues.

Researchers used the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey to identify patient visits to nonfederal outpatient physician offices at U.S. ambulatory care practices from January 1989 through December 2010 during which sunscreen was recommended.

According to the results, physicians mentioned sunscreen at about 12.8 million visits (0.07 percent). Physicians reported mentioning sunscreen at 0.9 percent of patient visits associated with the diagnosis of a skin disease. Sunscreen was mentioned most frequently to white patients and least frequently to children, the results also indicate.

"The findings are 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. Up to 80 percent of sun damage is thought to occur before age 21 years, and sunburns in childhood greatly increase the risk for future melanoma," the authors conclude.

 (JAMA Dermatol. Published September 4, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.4741. Available pre-embargo to the media at

Editor's Note: An author made a conflict of interest disclosure. The Center for Dermatology Research is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Galderma Laboratories, LP. Please see article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc. 


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