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Editorial |

Health Promotion Programs for Melanoma Prevention Screw or Spring?

David Hill, PhD; Robin Marks, MBBS, MPH, FRACP, FACD
Arch Dermatol. 2008;144(4):538-540. doi:10.1001/archderm.144.4.538.
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Every day in their clinical practice, dermatologists see the ravages of excessive sun exposure—prematurely aged skin with all its changes, solar keratoses, basal cell (BCC) and squamous cell (SCC) carcinomas and, of course, melanoma. It is tempting to respond as a professional by simplifying and “toughening up” the message to “get through” to an obdurate public.

We know of leading, well-intentioned dermatologists who advise all patients to apply sunscreen to all exposed skin all day every day of the year to achieve the required level of protection. But the world has always been complicated for those would who carry the “sunsmart” message (see “Additional Information” for more about SunSmart), and it is becoming still more complicated.

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Figure 1.

Melanoma incidence, Australia (1982-2003). Age-specific incidence rates by median year of birth in male (A) and female (B) individuals.9

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Figure 2.

Preference to not want to tan in Victoria8 and SunSmart (see “Additional Information” for information on SunSmart) funding in Victoria per capita (Australian dollars, 2007 value). (Written communication: Thursfield V, Giles G, English D. Melanoma incidence, Australia 1982-2003. Carlton, Victoria, Australia: Cancer Epidemiology Centre, The Cancer Council Victoria; 2007.)

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