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Cancer Types - Skin Cancer Overview

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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 and accounts for 50 percent of all cancers.
  • In the US alone, more than 1 million Americans will be diagnosed in 2008 with nonmelanoma skin cancer, and 62,480 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, about 70 percent 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.
  • Non-epithelial skin cancers (such as basal cell and squamous cell) have an overall 5-year survival rate around 88 percent.
  • 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 62,480 persons this year.

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