Did yesterday mark the beginning of a new era in the fight against skin cancer?

Written by: Danielle Paterson, Executive Director, David Cornfield Melanoma Fund

We may have witnessed a watershed moment yesterday with the launch of the US Surgeon General’s ‘Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer’. This report could signal the beginning of a true commitment to combating skin cancer in the United States. It labels skin cancer as a ‘major public health problem’ that must be acted upon with urgency, and it aims to galvanize individuals, families and multiple sectors to address skin cancer head-on.

The potential impact of this report should not be underestimated: past U.S. Surgeon General reports, particularly the reports on tobacco, have been the catalyst for commitment and action on serious public health issues, nationally and internationally. With this report, the US Surgeon General has brought skin cancer prevention to the forefront. This is unprecedented.

The ‘Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer’ is forceful and comprehensive. Five goals are outlined:

  • Goal 1: Increase Opportunities for Sun Protection in Outdoor Settings
  • Goal 2: Provide Individuals with the Information They Need to Make Informed, Healthy Choices About UV Exposure
  • Goal 3: Promote Policies that Advance the National Goal of Preventing Skin Cancer
  • Goal 4: Reduce Harms from Indoor Tanning
  • Goal 5: Strengthen Research, Surveillance, Monitoring, and Evaluation Related to Skin Cancer Prevention

Each Goal is accompanied by specific strategies, which, together, map out a multi-sectoral plan of action.

DCMF commends the U.S. Surgeon General for challenging us all to combat skin cancer. Although focused on the U.S., this influential and descriptive call to action is informed by international successes and can serve as a guide for health leaders around the world. We agree with the Surgeon General that achieving these goals will not be a small task, but we are hopeful that the ‘Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer’ will mark the beginning of a new era in the fight against skin cancer.

For the full report and resources visit: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/prevent-skin-cancer/index.html

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