Skin Cancer Facts

Protect yourself before you wreck yourself!

• Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.

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

• One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.

• Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have basal or squamous cell carcinoma at least once. These are non-melanoma skin cancers.

• About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.


• The vast majority of mutations found in melanoma are caused by ultraviolet radiation.

• The incidence of many common cancers is falling, but the incidence of melanoma continues to rise significantly.

• Approximately 69,000 melanomas will be diagnosed this year, with nearly 8,700 resulting in death.

• Melanoma accounts for about three percent of skin cancer cases, but it causes more than 75 percent of skin cancer deaths.

• One person dies of melanoma almost every hour (every 62 minutes).

• Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old.

• One in 55 people will be diagnosed with melanoma during their lifetime.

• One blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person's chances of developing melanoma later in life.

• A person's risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns at any age.


• Melanoma accounts for up to three percent of all pediatric cancers.

• Diagnoses - and treatment - are delayed in 40 percent of childhood melanoma cases.

• Ninety percent of pediatric melanoma cases occur in girls aged 10-19.

Signs & Symptoms (According to the American Cancer Society)

• Any change on the skin, especially in the size or color of a mole or other darkly pigmented growth or spot, or a new growth.

• Scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or change in the appearance of a bump or nodule.

• The spread of pigmentation beyond its border, such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark.

• A change in sensation, itchiness, tenderness, or pain.