GentleCure Blog

Fact Check #1: Key Stats About Skin Cancer

A doctor examining a person's skin
*Not an actual patient.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. In fact, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. When caught early, it is highly treatable. Learning some key facts about skin cancer can make all the difference in beating it. The more you know, the better prepared you are to help prevent, recognize, and cure skin cancer.

The most important fact to know about skin cancer

The most important skin cancer fact has to do with detection. Detecting skin cancer early gives you the best chance to cure it. The most effective way to find skin cancer early is by getting an annual skin check by your dermatologist.

A skin check is quick and easy. During the exam, the dermatologist uses a special magnifying device to thoroughly check your skin from head to toe. He or she looks for spots all over your skin, especially in places that are hard to see, like on your scalp, back, and buttocks, behind your ears, and between your toes. If the dermatologist finds a suspicious spot, a small sample, called a biopsy, may be taken and tested in a lab to see if it is skin cancer. If the test is positive for cancer, your dermatologist will contact you to discuss your treatment options. Together, you can discuss which option is best for you.

More Key Facts About Skin Cancer

You can learn a lot about skin cancer by talking with your dermatologist and researching reliable sites about skin cancer online. Here are a few more key facts:

General Skin Cancer Facts:

How many people are diagnosed with skin cancer daily?

  • Every day, more than 9,500 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer.

How common is skin cancer?

  • 1 in every 5 Americans will have skin cancer by age 70.

How deadly is skin cancer?

  • More than 2 people die of skin cancer each hour.

Can you get skin cancer more than once?

  • 40%-50% of people with one skin cancer have another case of skin cancer within 5 years.

What is the most common precancer?

  • Actinic keratosis is the most common precancer. It affects over 58 million Americans. It’s a rough, scaly patch on the skin that develops from chronic exposure to UV rays. 

Where is skin cancer most common?

  • Basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers are typically found on sun-exposed areas, such as the face, ears, neck, scalp, arms, shoulders, legs, and back. Melanoma can be found on any area of the body, even if the area in particular isn’t usually exposed to the sun. 

Basal Cell & Squamous Cell Skin Cancer Facts:

What are the most common types of skin cancer?

  • Basal cell skin cancer is the most common form of skin cancer, while squamous cell skin cancer is the second most common. 

How many cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed each year?

  • 3.6 million cases of basal cell skin cancers and 1.8 million cases of squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed each year.

What causes 90% of common skin cancers? 

  • About 90% of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun.

Melanoma Skin Cancer Facts:

How deadly is melanoma? 

  • An estimated 7,990 people will die of melanoma in 2023. Of those, 5,420 will be men and 2,570 will be women.

What causes melanoma? 

  • Most melanomas are caused by the sun.

What are Some Facts About Skin Cancer and Sun Exposure? 

  • Sun damage is cumulative. About 23% of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18, 47% by age 40, 74% by age 59, and 100% by age 78. 
  • Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk of developing melanoma.
  • Using a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell skin cancer by around 40%. 
  • Tanning beds can emit UV radiation that’s 10-15 times higher than what the sun emits at its peak intensity. 
  • The sun causes an estimated 90% of skin aging. 
  • The UV Index tells you how intense the UV rays are on any given day. A rating of 3 or higher in your area means you need to protect your skin from too much exposure.

Learn More About Skin Cancer & Treatment Options

Knowing the facts sets you up for success in preventing, recognizing, and treating skin cancer. Early detection through a skin check can start you on your way to finding the most effective treatment. Having those checks every year can also help you feel comfortable with your dermatologist. If skin cancer is found, you’ll be able to have an open conversation about your treatment options.

If you’ve been diagnosed with basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer, GentleCure™ may be a suitable treatment option for you. It involves no cutting or surgery, and allows people with skin cancer to continue doing the things they love without limitations. Find a location near you that provides Image-Guided SRT.

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For more information on skin cancer treatment options, speak with a Skin Cancer Information Specialist today.

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