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Is Skin Cancer More Common Than You Think?

The Most Common Cancer

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States and worldwide. While there are some individuals who are at a higher risk, anyone can develop skin cancer. Overexposure to UV light, either from the sun or artificial light, such as tanning beds, are contributing factors to developing skin cancer in one’s lifetime.

Did you know?

  1. 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.

  2. More than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour.

  3. Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma.

  4. When detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99 percent.

Non-melanoma Skin Cancer

Non-melanoma skin cancer is classified as any skin cancer that is not a melanoma. Basal cell (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer. It is estimated that 4.3 million cases of BCC are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, according to the CDC. The second most common form of skin cancer is squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). The CDC reports there are more than 1 million cases of SCC diagnosed in the U.S. each year.

  1. The diagnosis and treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer is on the rise in the U.S. The rate according to the skin cancer foundation has increased by 77 percent between 1994 and 2014, and continues to increase.

  2. The majority of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to UV light, either from the sun or tanning beds.

  3. It is estimated, according to the CDC, that 15,000 people die of SCC in the U.S. each year. This is twice as many as melanoma.

  4. There are certain medications that can increase your risk of SCC. Typically these are immunosuppressive medications.

  5. Organ transplant patients are also at an increased risk of SCC. They are 100 times more likely than a non-organ transplant patient to have a SCC.

  6. Wearing sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher every day, can greatly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.


  1. In the past decade (2009-2019) the number of new invasive melanoma cases diagnosed annually has increased by 54%, according the skin cancer foundation.

  2. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, Caucasians and men older than 50 have a higher risk of developing melanoma than the general population.

  3. The incidence in men aged 80 and older is three times higher than women of the same age.

  4. The annual incidence rate of melanoma in non-Hispanic Caucasians is 26 per 100,000, compared to 4 per 100,000 in Hispanics and 1 per 100,000 in African-Americans.

  5. It is estimated that melanoma will affect 1 in 27 men and 1 in 40 women in their lifetime.

  6. Melanoma is the second most common form of cancer in females age 15-29.

  7. We have seen a 6.1% annual rise in melanoma in women 44 and younger. This may be related to the trend of indoor tanning.

  8. There is a 75% increased risk of melanoma for people who have had their first tanning bed use under the age of 35.

Prevention and Detection

Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are highly curable if detected early. Detecting melanomas early can vastly improve the survival rate. The point is, detecting and treating effectively early is necessary and saves lives.

  1. Exposure to UV light is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers. Avoiding tanning beds, wearing protective clothing, using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher and seeking shade are great ways to protect one’s skin from harmful rays.

  2. Children should definitely avoid sunburns in childhood. Sunburns can increase their risk of melanoma over their lifetime.

  3. If you notice any spots on your skin that are different from others, are growing or changing in size or color, are not healing, or are itching and bleeding, get them checked out by one of our providers!

  4. Performing regular self-exams can help detect changing spots more quickly. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, about ½ of melanomas are self-detected.

We can’t wait to see you in the office to take care of your skin needs!




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