By Lisa Rapaport
(Reuters Health) – There isn’t much evidence to conclusively prove that daily sunscreenuse can prevent most skin cancers, a research review concludes.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use sunscreen, doctors say. It just means it’s unethical to do experiments testing the effectiveness of sunscreen by randomly assigning some people to use it and others to skip it.
“Lack of high quality experimental evidence should not be equated with evidence that such interventions are ineffective and it is important that patients and consumers do not stop protecting their skin until better quality evidence emerges,” lead authors Dr. Ingrid Arevalo-Rodriguez and Dr. Guillermo Sanchez of the Instituto de Evaluacion Technologica en Salud in Bogota, Colombia told Reuters Health by email.
Dr. Laura Ferris, a dermatologist at the University of Pittsburgh who wasn’t involved in the research review, pointed out, also by email, that it’s difficult to measure the effect of sun protection on the prevention of skin cancer, “particularly because it is not ethical or practical to randomize the population.”