Skip directly to search Skip directly to site content


Submit your email address to get updates on The Community Guide topics of interest.

Preventing Skin Cancer: Mass Media

Task Force Finding

The Community Preventive Services Task Force finds insufficient evidence to determine  effectiveness of mass media interventions to prevent skin cancer by reducing exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Although available evidence generally indicates that mass media interventions are associated with improvements in protective and preventive behaviors, the small number of studies, several with methodological limitations, make it difficult to draw clear conclusions.

Read the full Task Force Finding and Rationale Statement for details including implementation issues, possible added benefits, potential harms, and evidence gaps.

Intervention Definition

Mass media interventions to prevent skin cancer by reducing individuals’ exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation use communication channels such as print media (e.g., newspapers, magazines), broadcast media (e.g., radio, television), billboards, or the Internet to disseminate information, behavioral guidance, or a combination of these to wide audiences. Messages may target specific audiences, though the interventions typically rely on broad distribution channels.

Some interventions provide up-to-date information about the intensity of the sun’s rays (UV index), with the goal of raising awareness of the dangers of UV exposure and prompting sun protection measures. Others use persuasive techniques intended to change knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, intentions, and behaviors related to sun-protection and skin cancer.

Although this review assessed the effectiveness of mass media interventions themselves, eligible interventions could also use small media (e.g., brochures, flyers, newsletters) or promotional products to increase awareness of campaign messages.

About the Systematic Review

The Task Force recommendation was made in June 2011. It is based on evidence from a previously completed review (January 1966-June 2000) and an updated review (January 2000–May 2011). Updates of reviews are conducted to incorporate more recent evidence.

These reviews were conducted on behalf of the Task Force by a team of specialists in systematic review methods, and in research, practice and policy related to preventing skin cancer. Please subscribe External Web Site Icon to be notified as new materials on this topic become available.

Read a summary of findings from the previous review or visit the Cancer Prevention and Control section of our publications page to access the complete articles.

Publication Status

Full peer-reviewed articles of this systematic review will be posted on the Community Guide website when published. Subscribe External Web Site Icon to be notified when we post these publications or other materials. See our library for previous Community Guide publications on this and other topics.


The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and do not necessarily represent those of CDC. Task Force evidence-based recommendations are not mandates for compliance or spending. Instead, they provide information and options for decision makers and stakeholders to consider when determining which programs, services, and policies best meet the needs, preferences, available resources, and constraints of their constituents.

Sample Citation

The content of publications of the Guide to Community Preventive Services is in the public domain. Citation as to source, however, is appreciated. Sample citation: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Preventing skin cancer: mass media (abbreviated). Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.

Review completed: June 2011