Skin Cancer by the Numbers: It’s the Most Common Cancer of All
Here are some statistics about skin cancer and tips for staying safe.
- One in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer at some point in life, according to skincancer.org.
- There are four common types of skin cancers, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
- Actinic Keratoses is a precancerous growth that forms on the skin after a lot of sun exposure. This looks like scaly, dry patches on the skin.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. It develops after years of sun exposure or indoor tanning and looks like a flesh-colored, pearly bump or pink patch of skin.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer and appears as firm, red nodules or flat, scaly lesions.
- Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. It usually develops from a mole or dark patch of skin. Look for dark moles that have irregular shape, color or size. On average, one person dies every hour because of melanoma.
Anyone can develop skin cancer, regardless of age, sex or race. However, the majority of people with skin cancer are white men over 55, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
- Skin cancer is the third most common type of cancer for women, after breast and thyroid cancer.
- People with fair skin have an increased chance of skin cancer because their skin has less pigment, which means less protection from the sun.
- Indoor tanning increases your chances of developing skin cancer by 67 percent, according to the SCF.
- Skin cancer can be treated if it's caught early. If it is caught at the beginning stages, the five-year survival rate is over 98 percent, according to cancer.net.
- If skin cancer spreads to lymph nodes or other organs, survival rates decrease to below 18 percent.
- Stay in the shade. The sun is strongest between 10 a.m.-3 p.m., so avoid the sun during these hours.
- Sunscreen takes about 15 minutes to become effective.
- Other factors that can increase your chance of skin cancer include:
o Family history of skin cancer
o Weakened immune systems
o Exposure to radiation or chemicals
o History of sunburns
o Excessive sun exposure
o Living at a higher elevation and thus being exposed to more radiation
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