It may be near the end of Summer, but sunscreen can be worn anytime of the year!
By Karen Kaplan
3:41 p.m. CDT, September 4, 2013
Has your doctor ever advised you to use sunscreen? Chances are, the answer is no.
In fact, out of 18.3 billion doctor visits over nearly 21 years, sunscreen was recommended to patients only 12.83 million times, a new study finds. That works out to only 0.07% of visits.
OK, you’re thinking, surely doctors did a better job when they were seeing patients for a skin-related disease like melanoma or actinic keratosis. And indeed, they were 12 times more likely to mention sunscreen to these patients. But that still added up to only 0.9% of doctor visits. That’s right – less than 1%.
What’s going on here? Are doctors not aware that sunscreen protects people from UV radiation, the damaging rays that are the primary cause of melanoma and other skin cancers?
Nope. The American Academy of Dermatology, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Gynecologists and the American Academy of Family Physicians all advise their members to counsel patients on protecting themselves from the sun. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Cancer Society also endorse the practice.
And yet, when researchers from the Center for Dermatology Research at Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina examined data from the CDC’s National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, they found that dermatologists mentioned sunscreen in only 1.6% of patient visits. When seeing patients with skin cancer or a history of the disease, sunscreen came up only 11.2% of the time. And dermatologists are the ones who are experts on keeping skin healthy.