There is inadequate evidence to determine whether the avoidance of sunburns or the use of sunscreen alters the incidence of cutaneous melanoma.
Magnitude of Benefit: Unknown.
Study Design: Primarily cohort or case-control studies. A post hoc analysis of one randomized controlled trial of regular sunscreen use versus use at the personal discretion of the control group suggested a possible decrease in melanoma in the regular sunscreen group that emerged years after the trial period ended. However, the numbers were extremely small, and the confidence intervals were consequently very large.
Internal Validity: Poor.
External Validity: Not applicable (N/A).
The harms of sunscreen use are poorly quantified but are likely to be small, including allergic reactions to skin creams and lower production of vitamin D by the skin with less sun exposure.
Thomas VD, Aasi SZ, Wilson LD, et al.: Cancer of the skin. In: DeVita VT Jr, Hellman S, Rosenberg SA, eds.: Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. Vols. 1 & 2. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008, pp 1863-87.
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May 28, 2015
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