Are Sunscreens Cost-effective for the Prevention of Skin Cancer?

Craig A. Elmets, MD


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The cost-effectiveness of regular sunscreen use is likely to differ depending on the healthcare system. In Australia, where dermatologic care is delivered differently than in the U.S., there was a marked savings in governmental costs and only a modest increase in costs to the patient and physician. In the U.S., the cost-benefit for sunscreen use would likely be even larger. Importantly, other benefits accrue that are difficult to quantify monetarily: Skin cancers and the scars that result from their removal are associated with considerable morbidity. As the costs and quality of healthcare undergo increased scrutiny in the U.S., these types of analyses are likely to become more frequent.


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