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Exposure to ultraviolet radiation is the main risk factor for skin cancer. Denmark has one of the highest incidences of skin cancer in the world. In 2007, a long-term sun safety campaign was launched in Denmark. We have evaluated the effects on prevalence of sunburn and modeled the effects on future melanoma incidence.

Sunburn was evaluated by annual cross-sectional surveys representative for the Danish population on age, gender, and region. During 2007-2015, survey data were collected for 33.315 Danes. Cutaneous Melanoma incidences were modeled in the Prevent program, using population projections, historic incidence, sunburn exposure, and relative risk of sunburn on melanoma.

The prevalence of sunburn in Denmark was reduced with 1% annually during 2007 to 2015. The campaign is estimated to have reduced the number of skin cancer cases with 664 annually in 2040 and 14.326 totally during 2007 to 2040. If the campaign was terminated in 2015 and sunburn rates return to precampaign level there would be no annual reduction in 2040 while in total the reduction would be 4.024 cases for 2007 to 2040. A continuous campaign until 2040 would yield annual reductions of 2.121 cases by 2040 and a total of 29.729 cases for the entire period.

We have showed the value of prevention and the value of long-term planning in prevention campaigning. Sunburn use was reduced significantly during 2007-2015 and further reductions are possible. Consequently, we predict significant fewer skin cancer cases as anticipated.

Copyright (C) 2018 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.