Top 8 Shocking Facts About Skin Cancer

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Joan Lunden

Health /


May is National Skin Cancer/Melanoma Awareness Month. I am bringing this up to everyone because skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, with over one million people diagnosed each year! Skin cancer has been on the rise and it is being diagnosed in much younger people. The good news is that many cases of skin cancer are preventable. We just need to be more sun savvy and properly protect our bodies in order to prevent the disease. Check out the following facts on skin cancer!

  1. More than 90% of skin cancer is caused by sun exposure.
    Non-melanoma skin cancer is caused by the UV rays from the sun. Unprotected exposure to UV rays affect you the same whether they come from being outdoors, or from tanning booths, or even through your car or home windows.
  2. Each hour, 1 person dies from skin cancer.
    About 2,800 people will die of non-melanoma skin cancer and about 8,000 will die of melanoma in the U.S. this year. The sad thing is that many of these deaths could have been prevented by simply protecting one’s self from the sun. 
  3. Skin cancer accounts for more than 50% of all cancers combined.
    Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer among men and women.
  4. More than one million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year.
    The American Cancer Society estimates that 1.5 million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year. 
  5. Skin cancer is most deadly for African Americans, Asians, and Latinos.
    Although the risk factor is rather low for African Americans, Asians, and Latinos, skin cancer can be the most deadly for these groups. 
  6. 1 in 3 Caucasians will be diagnosed with skin cancer sometime in their life.
    1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed in their lifetime with skin cancer. The risk factor is higher for Caucasians, with it being in 1 in 3. 
  7. One bad burn in childhood doubles the risk factor for melanoma later in life.
    Protecting children against UV exposure is essential for skin health into adulthood. A blistering sun burn during childhood increases the risk of melanoma as an adult. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.
  8. Men are diagnosed with skin cancer more often than women.
    According to the American Cancer Society men are twice as likely to develop skin cancer as women. In fact, it is more common than prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer in men over 50. This makes skin cancer the most common cancer in men over 50.

Symptoms of Skin Cancer

  • A small lump (spot or mole) that is shiny, waxy, pale in color, and smooth in texture. 
  • A red lump (spot or mole) that is firm. 
  • A sore or spot that bleeds or become crusty. Also look for sores that don't heal.
  • Rough and scaly patches on the skin.
  • Flat scaly areas of the skin that are red or brown.
  • Any new growth that is suspicious.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher as one important part of a complete sun protection regimen. However sunscreen alone is not enough.

  • Seek the shade, especially between 10 A.M. and 4 P.M.
  • Do not burn, ever.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
  • It is recommended that each person examine their skin head-to-toe every month for skin abnormalities.
  • See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
  • If you suspect that a lump, spot, or mole may be suspicious of skin cancer, see your doctor immediately. When detected early, it is highly treatable.

Source: National Skincare Foundation

Categories: Health, Skin Care
About The Author
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Joan Lunden truly exemplifies today’s modern working woman. An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, one of America’s most recognized and trusted television personalities, this mom of seven continues to do it all. As host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades, Lunden brought insight to top issues for millions of Americans each day. The longest running host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered 4 presidents and 5 Olympics and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families and themselves.

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