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Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, afflicting more than two million Americans each year, a number that is rising rapidly. It is also the easiest to cure, if diagnosed and treated early. When allowed to progress, however, skin cancer can result in disfigurement and even death.

Facts About Skin Cancer

  • Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually.
  • Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
  • Treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancers increased by nearly 77 percent between 1992 and 2006.
  • Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.
  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
  • 13 million white non-Hispanics living in the US at the beginning of 2007 had at least one nonmelanoma skin cancer, typically diagnosed as basal cell carcinoma (BCC) or squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
  • Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer; an estimated 2.8 million are diagnosed annually in the US. BCCs are rarely fatal, but can be highly disfiguring if allowed to grow.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer. An estimated 700,000 cases of SCC are diagnosed each year in the US.
  • An estimated 3,170 deaths from nonmelanoma skin cancers will occur in the US in 2013.
  • Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have either BCC or SCC at least once.
  • Actinic keratosis is the most common precancer; it affects more than 58 million Americans.
  • Approximately 65 percent of all squamous cell carcinomas and 36 percent of all basal cell carcinomas arise in lesions that previously were diagnosed as actinic keratoses.
  • About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
  • Half of all adults report at least one sunburn in the past 12 months. 

Do you know what skin cancer looks like?

ABCD chartABCDEs of Skin Cancer