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Facts about Skin Cancer


• More than 2.1 million people contract skin cancer every year with more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed.

• 6 out of 7 skin cancer deaths are from malignant melanoma

• Half of all new cancers are skin cancers.

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

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

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

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

• The survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early, before the tumor has penetrated the skin, is about 99 percent.16 The survival rate falls to 15 percent for those with advanced disease.

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

• Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer for males and sixth most common for females.

• Women aged 39 and under have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer except breast cancer.

• About 65 percent of melanoma cases can be attributed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

• One or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than double a persons chances of developing melanoma later in life.

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

• Survivors of melanoma are about nine times as likely as the general population to develop a new melanoma.

• Approximately 39,000 new cases of melanoma occur in men each year in the US, and 29,000 in women.

• Melanoma is one of only three cancers with an increasing mortality rate for men, along with liver cancer and esophageal cancer.

• Between 1980 and 2004, the annual incidence of melanoma among young women increased by 50 percent, from 9.4 cases to 13.9 cases per 100,000 women.

• The number of women under age 40 diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma has more than doubled in the last 30 years; the incidence of squamous cell carcinoma among women under age 40 has increased almost 700 percent.

(Sources: The Skin Cancer Foundation and The American Cancer Society)