Skin Cancer

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Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer. If you have skin cancer, it is important to know which type you have because it affects your treatment options and your outlook (prognosis). If you aren’t sure which type of skin cancer you have, ask your doctor so you can get the right information.

About 5.4 million basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed each year. (These are found in about 3.3 million Americans; some people have more than one.) Melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer, accounted for about 99,780 new cases of skin cancer in 2021. Unfortunately, the rates of melanoma have been rising rapidly over the past few decades.

Types of Skin Cancer

Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancer - These cancers are most often found in areas exposed to the sun, such as the head, neck, and arms, but they also can occur elsewhere. They are very common but are also usually very treatable. Here you can find out all about these cancers, including risk factors, symptoms, how they are found, and how they are treated.

Melanoma Skin Cancer - Melanoma is less common than some other types of skin cancer, but it is more likely to grow and spread. If you have melanoma or are close to someone who does, knowing what to expect can help you cope. Here you can find out all about melanoma, including risk factors, symptoms, how it is found, and how it is treated.

Key Statistics for Melanoma Skin Cancer

Cancer of the skin is by far the most common of all cancers. Melanoma accounts for only about 1% of skin cancers but causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths.

How common is melanoma?

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for melanoma in the United States for 2022 are:

  • About 99,780 new melanomas will be diagnosed (about 57,180 in men and 42,600 in women).
  • About 7,650 people are expected to die of melanoma (about 5,080 men and 2,570 women).

The rates of melanoma have been rising rapidly over the past few decades, but this has varied by age.

Risk of getting melanoma

Melanoma is more than 20 times more common in whites than in African Americans. Overall, the lifetime risk of getting melanoma is about 2.6% (1 in 38) for whites, 0.1% (1 in 1,000) for Blacks, and 0.6% (1 in 167) for Hispanics.

Melanoma begins on the skin where it is easy to see and treat. However, it can grow into the skin, reaching the blood vessels and lymphatics, and can spread within the body to various organs when it can be fatal. If it is recognized and treated early, chances of recovery are very good. But if it is not found early, it can grow deeper into the skin, and spread to other parts of the body. Once melanoma spreads beyond the skin to other parts of the body, it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal. Melanoma is known to be the most deadly of all skin cancers. However, melanoma is not solely isolated to being a cancer of the skin. Melanoma can also occur in the eye, the mucous membranes or even underneath fingernails and toenails.

Key Facts:

-Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death in young women ages 25-30 and the second leading cause of cancer death in women ages 30-35.

-Nearly 90% of melanomas are thought to be caused by over exposure to UV light, both from natural and artificial sources.

-Every year in the U.S. nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer, at an estimated cost of $8.1 billion.

-Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.

-One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

-Approximately 9,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day.

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

-Having 5 or more sunburns DOUBLES your risk for melanoma.

To learn more please visit:

Source: American Cancer Society,, American Academy or Dermatology,

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