Skin cancer is a common and serious health concern that affects millions of people worldwide. It’s estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives, making it the most common type of cancer in the US.
We’re listing some of the most important skin cancer statistics here, helping to give readers a better understanding of the risks associated with sun exposure and how to stay safe.
Fast Facts About Skin Cancer
- 9,500 people in the U.S. are estimated to be diagnosed with skin cancer every day.
- Skin cancer is the most common type of all cancers — while melanoma accounts for only about 1% of skin cancers, it causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths.
- The most common types of skin cancer have high survival rates. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, the two most common forms of skin cancer, are highly treatable with a high cure rate if detected early and treated properly. The five-year survival rate for these types of skin cancer is typically around 95-99%.
- Skin cancer has increased by 263% since the 70s and 80s.
- Men are more at risk for skin cancer than women. Skin cancer rates for men are roughly 30% vs 20% for women.
- It’s estimated that there will be 97,610 new cases of melanoma in the United States in 2023
- Melanoma is one of the most common cancers in young people — especially in young women.
10 Facts and Statistics About Skin Cancer
By understanding these facts and statistics about skin cancer, individuals can take proactive steps to protect their skin, detect skin cancer early, and improve their chances of successful treatment. Whether you’re at high risk for skin cancer or simply want to learn more about this important health issue, this article will provide valuable information and insights.
Darker-skinned people get skin cancer, too.
There’s a common misconception that darker-toned people can’t get skin cancer. While darker-skinned people are less likely to get skin cancer than lighter-skinned individuals, they still can (and do).
Skin cancer in people with darker skin tones is usually diagnosed in later stages (when it’s tougher to treat). This is likely due in part to the misconception that darker-skinned people do not get skin cancer — as a result of this misconception, darker-skinned people are usually less likely to wear sunscreen or take extra precautions in the sun.
Individuals with darker skin tones are less likely than lighter-skinned patients to survive melanoma. This is likely a result of the later diagnosis trend.
People with darker skin are more likely to skin cancer in areas that aren’t commonly exposed to the sun — such as the palms of one’s hands, the soles of the feet, the groin, and the inside of one’s mouth.
Colder states have 3x more skin cancer than warm states.
Colder states in the north of the US have a much higher rate of skin cancer than warmer, southern states. CDC data has shown that cooler states like Utah, Vermont, and Minnesota have the highest rates of skin cancer. In fact, these colder states have skin cancer rates nearly 3x higher than warmer states like Texas and New Mexico.
It sounds weird right? Shouldn’t warmer, sunnier states have more skin cancer — not less?
We believe this is due in large part to folks living in warmer states being more accustomed to wearing sunscreen and UPF clothing. Protecting yourself from UV rays isn’t optional when it’s sunny nearly every day and you’re constantly outside. However, in colder climates where you are outdoors less often, you aren’t as likely to remember sunscreen.
People often forget to wear sunscreen when it’s sunny outside but also cold — unfortunately, the sun can damage your skin regardless of the temps!
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US
This is due to a number of reasons. But, in part, Americans do not generally take sufficient precautions to protect their skin from the sun’s harmful rays. This includes not using sunscreen, not wearing protective clothing, and not seeking shade during peak sun hours.
Skin cancer is often linked to lifestyle factors such as tanning beds and sun bathing, which are popular in the US. Tanning beds expose the skin to high levels of UV radiation, which can increase the risk of skin cancer. Culturally, the look of a tanned-skinned individual is preferred aesthetically in the United States over a light, paler skin, with tanned people considered generally more attractive.
Genetics are also at play — the United States features a significant population originating from Europe. These historically fair-skinned individuals are at higher risk of developing skin cancer.
Skin cancer has increased by 263% since the 70s and 80s.
Research has shown that squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) has increased by 263% between 1976-1984 compared to 2000-2010. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) has increased by 145% between those same periods.
Research estimates that nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC), including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, affects over 3 million Americans each year.
Men are more likely to get skin cancer than women
Men are considerably more at risk for skin cancer than women. Between 2015-2019, skin cancer rates for men has hovered around 30%, compared to just 20% for women.
This is likely due to the fact that men (generally speaking) tend to spend more time outdoors in the sun than women. This is due to factors such as outdoor occupations (construction, lawn maintenance, etc), and sports (golf, fishing, tc), and hobbies.
On top of that, men are less likely to use sun protection than women. Studies have shown that women are more likely to use sunscreen and wear protective clothing than men. One study found that less than 15% of men (compared with 30% of women) said they regularly used sunscreen on their face and other exposed areas of the body.
Men may also be less likely to seek medical attention for suspicious skin lesions or undergo regular skin checks with a dermatologist.
In 2023, we’ll see 97,610 new cases of melanoma skin cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society’s estimates, the expected amount of new cases of melanoma in the United States for 2023 will be 97,610, with an estimated 58,120 cases in men and 39,490 in women.
Mortality rates from melanoma are going down.
Melanoma mortality rates have declined over the past decade (2011 to 2020), due in large part to advances in melanoma treatment. Melanoma mortality rates have dropped 5% per year in adults under age 50 and 3% per year in those 50 and older.
Melanoma is one of the most common cancers in young adults.
While one’s risk of melanoma increases as one ages, it’s not uncommon for younger folks either. In fact, melanoma is one of the most common cancer in young people — especially for young women.
The most common types of skin cancer have a high survival rate.
The survival rate for skin cancer depends on several factors, including the type of skin cancer, the stage at which it’s diagnosed, and the person’s overall health.
The most common types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma, have high cure rates with early detection and treatment. The five-year survival rate for these types of skin cancer is typically around 95-99%.
Melanoma, a more aggressive form of skin cancer, has a lower survival rate if not detected and treated early.
The five-year survival rate for melanoma that’s detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 99%. The five-year survival rate for melanoma that spreads to nearby lymph nodes is 68%. The five-year survival rate for melanoma that spreads to distant lymph nodes and other organs is 30%.
It’s important to note that survival rates are statistics based on large groups of people and can’t predict an individual’s outcome. If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, it’s crucial to work closely with your healthcare team and follow their recommendations for treatment and follow-up care.
Tanning beds are incredibly dangerous.
Exposure to tanning beds dramatically increases the risk of melanoma, with studies showing that under 30-year-old women are 6x more likely to develop melanoma if they tan indoors.
FAQ: Skin Cancer Statistics and Facts
What are the odds of getting skin cancer?
The odds of getting skin cancer vary depending on several factors, including your skin type, genetics, and sun exposure history.
Individuals with fair skin, blonde or red hair, blue or green eyes, and a history of frequent sunburns or intense sun exposure are at higher risk of developing skin cancer. People with a family history of skin cancer or a weakened immune system are also at increased risk.
Overall, the lifetime risk of getting melanoma is about 2.6% (1 in 38) for white people, 0.1% (1 in 1,000) for black people, and 0.6% (1 in 167) for hispanic people.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it is estimated that approximately one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives. This makes skin cancer the most common type of cancer in the United States.
At what age is skin cancer most common?
Older individuals are at a higher risk of melanoma — 65 is the average age of skin cancer diagnosis. Despite one’s risk for melanoma increasing as one ages, it’s not uncommon for younger people either. Melanoma is actually one of the most common cancers in young people.
What is the survival rate of skin cancer?
The five-year survival rate for melanoma that’s detected and treated prior to spreading to the lymph nodes is 99%. The five-year survival rate for melanoma that spreads to nearby lymph nodes is 68%. The five-year survival rate for melanoma that spreads to distant lymph nodes and other organs is 30%.
What state has highest rate of skin cancer?
According to data from the CDC, Utah, Vermont and Minnesota have the highest rates of skin cancer. Texas, Alaska and New Mexico have the lowest rates of skin cancer. This is likely due to the fact that people living in states with more fun do a better job of protecting themselves from the sun by applying sunscreen and wearing protective clothing. This becomes a regular, daily habit for these individuals.
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- Muzic, JG et al. Incidence and Trends of Basal Cell Carcinoma and Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma: A Population-Based Study in Olmstead County, Minnesota, 2000-2010. Mayo Clin Proc. Published Online May 15, 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2017.02.015