May is National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. This month is dedicated to increasing public awareness of the importance of skin cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment, including basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually.
Skin Cancer Facts
- In 2015, about 73,870 new melanomas will be diagnosed (about 42,670 in men and 31,200 in women).
- The risk of melanoma increases with age – the average age at the time it is found is 62. But melanoma is not uncommon even among those younger than 30. In fact, it is one of the most common cancers in young adults (especially young women).
- Melanoma is more than 20 times more common in whites than in African Americans.
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer; an estimated 2.8 million are diagnosed annually in the US. BCCs are rarely fatal, but can be highly disfiguring if allowed to grow.
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. An estimated 700,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S.
- Actinic keratosis is the most common precancer; it affects more than 58 million Americans.
- Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will develop skin cancer, either basal cell or squamous cell, at least once.
- Who survives skin cancer? The 5-year survival rate for patients, whose melanoma is detected early, before the tumor has penetrated the skin, is about 97 percent. The 5-year survival rate falls to 15-20 percent for those with advanced disease.
Source: The American Cancer Society, Skin Cancer Facts.