Sunscreen recommendation rates low

September 19, 2013

Physicians discussed sunscreen use with patients at less than 1 percent of visits, according to recent study results.

 

Physicians discussed sunscreen use with patients at less than 1% of visits, according to recent study results.

Overall, healthcare practitioners mentioned sunscreen use at approximately 12.83 million visits (0.07%). In visits with patients with a skin disease diagnosis, sunscreen use was reportedly mentioned at 0.9% of visits. Dermatologists were more likely to bring up the topic of sunscreen, however the discussion was brought up in only 1.6% of all dermatology visits, according to researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Investigators pooled data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from 1989 to 2010, which held data on more than 20 years of physician visits, including approximately 18.30 billion patients, according to the study abstract.

In addition, the researchers found that sunscreen use was more frequently recommended to patients 80 years and older and to white patients.

The American Academy of Dermatology has stated that evidence suggests regular skin examinations may help detect melanomas earlier and improve survival rates.

Researchers encouraged physicians to counsel patients about sun protective behaviors, including sunscreen use.

“The high incidence and morbidity of skin cancer can be greatly reduced with the implementation of sun-protective behaviors, which patients should be counseled about at outpatient visits,” study authors wrote.

The findings were published online Sept. 4 in JAMA Dermatology.