Skin Cancer Facts

  • In the United States, more than 2.1 million people contract skin cancer every year and more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed.
  • Each year more skin cancer cases are diagnosed than the combined incidence of lung, prostate, breast and colon cancers.
  • Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will contract skin cancer at least once.
  • More than one in five Americans will develop skin cancer.
  • Approximately 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to the sun.
  • An estimated 123,590 cases of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, were diagnosed in the U.S. in 2011.
  • More than 11,500 people die from skin cancers in the United States each year. About 8,800 are from melanoma.
  • One or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than double a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life.
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an affiliate of the World Health Organization, includes ultraviolet (UV) tanning devices in its Group 1, a list of the most dangerous cancer-causing substances. Group 1 also includes agents such as plutonium, cigarettes, and solar UV radiation.
  • Exposure to tanning beds before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 75%.
  • More than one million people visit tanning salons every day. Of these, approximately 71% are girls and young women aged 16-29.
  • Young women, under the age of 39, have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer except breast cancer.
  • Ninety percent of pediatric melanoma cases occur in girls aged 10-19.
  • Melanoma is the most common for of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old.
  • When diagnosed early, 99% of melanoma patients survive longer than 5 years. The survival rate falls to 15% for patients with advanced melanoma.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer among African Americans and Asian Indians.

(Sources:  The Skin Cancer Foundation and The American Cancer Society)