Cancer Types - Skin Cancer Overview

Facts about skin cancer:

Picture of elderly couple walking on the beach

According to the latest statistics available from the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Skin cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in the skin cells.
  • In the US alone, more than 1 million Americans will be diagnosed in 2009 with nonmelanoma skin cancer, and 68,720 will be diagnosed with melanoma, according to the American Cancer Society.
  • Although exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays is said to be the most important factor in the cause of skin cancers, the majority of American adults do not 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 Caucasians 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 is expected to be diagnosed in 68,720 persons this year.

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