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Skin cancer - Statistics & Facts

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide. The three main types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and melanoma. BCC and SCC are the most common types of skin cancer, but also the least likely to spread, and therefore the least deadly. Melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, is responsible for thousands of deaths in the United States every year. It is estimated that in 2021, there will be around 62,260 new melanoma cases among men and 43,850 among women in the United States.

Who is at risk?

Some people are more susceptible to skin cancer than others, with skin color, gender, age and geography all contributing to risk. Men, for example, are diagnosed with skin cancer at a much higher rate than women. Furthermore, people with lighter skin are at greater risk of sun damage and therefore skin cancer. In 2017, non-Hispanic Whites were diagnosed with melanoma at a rate of 31 per 100,000 people, while only two African Americans were diagnosed with melanoma per 100,000.

Survival and prevention

If detected early enough and proper treatment is implemented, the survival rate for skin cancer is high. From 2010 to 2016, the five-year survival rate in the U.S. for melanoma was 93 percent. However, despite this high rate of survival it is predicted that there will still be over 7,600 deaths from melanoma in 2021.

Skin cancer can be prevented through several easy measures including regular self-checking, periodic appointments with a dermatologist, using sunscreen and avoiding tanning and UV tanning beds. In 2019, dermatologists in the U.S. performed an estimated 3.5 million skin cancer treatments, making skin cancer treatment the second most performed procedure among dermatologists that year. Still, the easiest and simplest way to avoid skin cancer is by staying protected from the sun by wearing sunscreen, protective clothing, or seeking shade. A survey from 2020 found that around 48 percent of U.S. adults use sunblock to reduce their risk of getting cancer, while 47 percent limit their skin's exposure to the sun without using sunblock.


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