Policy and practice for preventing skin cancer in children



Publication Details

Masso, M. R. (2006). Policy and practice for preventing skin cancer in children. Public Health Nursing, 23 (4), 361-365.


This paper identifies what is known and what is not known about the link between sun exposure and skin cancer and what can be done to reduce sun exposure in children. There is evidence for the use of sun protective clothing and of the effectiveness of sunscreens for some, but not all, forms of skin cancer. While there is some evidence to support interventions in schools, there is insufficient evidence to support other interventions aimed at children or their caregivers. There is no clear means of assessing the “trade-off” between the benefits and harms of sunlight exposure, and the impact of sun protection strategies on other health promotion messages aimed at children is unknown. Reliance on educational interventions in schools may benefit from a broader approach that includes more emphasis on protective clothing and structural changes in the school day. Sun protection messages should be linked with other health promotion messages targeting children.

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