Skin cancer

Incidence Rates

• More than 3.5 million skin cancers in more than 2.2 million people are diagonsed each year in the U.S.

• Skin Cancer is the most common of all Cancer types and estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

• Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.

• It is estimated that there will be about 76,690 new cases of invasive melanoma diagnosed this year in the U.S..

• By 2015, it is estimated that one in 50 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma in the United States.

• About 86 percent of melanomas can be attributed to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

• Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for at least 30 years.

• Caucasians and men older than 50 are at a higher risk of developing skin cancers.

• From 1970 to 2009, the incidence of melanoma increased by 800 percent among young women and 400 percent among young men and is the most commom form of cancer for young adults.

Survival Rates

• Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the two most common forms of skin cancer, but are easily treated if detected early.

• Both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas have cure rates approaching 95 percent if detected early and treated promptly.

• The five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 98 percent.

• Five-year survival rates for regional and distant stage melanomas are 62 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

Mortality Rates
• About 75 percent of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma.

• On average, one American dies from melanoma every hour. In 2013, it is estimated that 9,480 deaths would be attributed to melanoma — 6,280 men and 3,200 women.

• An estimated 3,070 deaths from other skin cancers will occur in the United States in 2013.

• The World Health Organization estimates that more than 65,000 people a year worldwide die from melanoma.

Risk Factors

• The major risk factor for melanoma of the skin is exposure to ultraviolet light. In 2010, new research found that daily sunscreen use cut the incidence of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, in half.

• Increasing intermittent sun exposure in childhood and during one’s lifetime is associated with an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

• Exposure to tanning beds increases the risk of melanoma, especially in women aged 45 years or younger. In females 15-29 years old, the torso/trunk is the most common location for developing melanoma, which may be due to high-risk tanning behaviors.

• People with more than 50 moles, atypical moles, light skin, freckles, a history of sunburn, or a family history of melanoma are at an increased risk of developing melanoma.

• Melanoma survivors have an approximately nine-fold increased risk of developing another melanoma compared to the general population.

Prevention and Detection

• Because exposure to ultraviolet light is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers 2 encourages everyone to protect their skin by applying sunscreen, seeking shade and wearing protective clothing.

• Warning signs of melanoma include changes in size, shape, or color of a mole or other skin lesion, or the appearance of a new growth on the skin.

• Individuals with a history of melanoma should have a full-body exam by a board-certified dermatologist at least annually and perform regular self-exams for new and changing moles.


The American Academy of Dermatology

In 2004, the total direct cost associated with the treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer was $1.5 billion in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute, the estimated total direct cost associated with the treatment of melanoma in 2010 was $2.36 billion in the United States.

Published By The American Academy of Dermatology