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Facts About Skin Cancer

Picture of older couple playing on the beach

Skin cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in the skin cells. According to the latest statistics available from the American Cancer Society and the CDC:

  • In the U.S. alone, more than 2 million Americans will be diagnosed in 2013 with nonmelanoma skin cancer, and about 76,690 will be diagnosed with melanoma.

  • Although exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays is said to be the most important factor in the cause of skin cancers, only a little over half of American adults use sun-protection measures.

  • Most skin cancers appear in older people, but skin damage from the sun begins at an early age. Therefore, protection should start in childhood to prevent skin cancer later in life.

In addition, consider the following statistics from the American Cancer Society and the American Academy of Dermatology:

  • Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of cancer worldwide.

  • Melanoma incidence rates are 10 times higher for whites than for African-Americans. People with dark-pigmented skin can develop melanoma, particularly on the palms of the hands, on the soles of the feet, under the nails, and inside the mouth.

  • Melanoma accounts for less than 5 percent of all skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths. 

Online Medical Reviewer: Alteri, Rick, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Stump-Sutliff, Kim, RN, MSN, AOCNS
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2013
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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