Skin Cancer Fact Sheet

  • More than one million skin cancers are diagnosed in the United States every year.i
  • One out of every five Americans will develop some type of skin cancer over the course of their lifetime.ii
  • An equal opportunity cancer, skin cancer can affect people of any race, sex or age. In fact, melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is the second most common cancer in women aged 20 to 29.iv
  • One American dies of melanoma almost every hour. In 2010, 8,700 deaths were attributed to melanoma - 5,670 men and 3,030 women.i
  • Both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma have a better than 95 percent five-year survival rate if detected and treated early.i
  • People with more than 50 moles, atypical moles, or a family history of melanoma are at an increased risk of developing melanoma.i
  • The five-year survival rate for melanoma detected at all stages increased from 82 percent between 1975 and 1977 to 93 percent between 1999 and 2005.
  • More than 75 percent of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma.i
  • The five year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads is 98 percent.i
  • The American Cancer Society recommends a skin cancer-related checkup and counseling about sun exposure as part of any periodic health examination for men and women beginning at age 20.i
  1. American Cancer Society. 2010 Cancer Facts and Figures. documents/document/acspc-026238.pdf.
  2. Robinson JK. Sun Exposure, Sun Protection, and Vitamin D. JAMA 2005; 294: 1541-43.
  3. Linos E, Swetter S, Cockburn MG, Colditz GA, Clarke CA. Increasing burden of melanoma in the United States. J Invest Derm. 8 January 2009 doi:10.1038/jid.2008.423.
  4. Cancer Epidemiology in Older Adolescents & Young Adults. SEER AYA Monograph Pages 53-57. 2007.
  5. Melanoma of the Skin, Cancer Fact Sheets, National Cancer Institute, SEER database, 2007.
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