- Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers, including melanoma.1, 2
- You can have fun in the sun and decrease your risk of skin cancer.
Here's how to be Sun Smart®:
- Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or more to all exposed skin. "Broad-spectrum" provides protection from both Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
- Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, where possible.
- Seek shade when appropriate. Remember that the sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow appears to be shorter than you are, seek shade.
- Use extra caution near water, snow and sand because they reflect and intensify the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chances of sunburn.
- Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements. Don't seek the sun.3
- Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look tan, consider using a self-tanning product or spray, but continue to use sunscreen with it.
- Examine your skin. If you notice any moles or spots changing, growing or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.
Skin Cancer Facts
- Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually.4
- Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.5
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.2
- Over the past 31 years, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.6
- Nearly 800,000 Americans are living with a history of melanoma and 13 million are living with a history of non-melanoma skin cancer, typically diagnosed as basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma.7
- Actinic keratosis is the most common pre-cancer; it affects more than 58 million Americans.8
- Approximately 65 percent of all squamous cell carcinomas arise in lesions that previously were diagnosed as actinic keratosis. In patients with a history of two or more skin cancers, 36 percent of basal cell carcinomas arise in lesions previously diagnosed as actinic keratosis.9
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer; an estimated 2.8 million are diagnosed annually in the U.S.10 BCC's are rarely fatal, but can be highly disfiguring if allowed to grow.
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer.11 An estimated 700,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S,12 resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths.5
- Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have skin cancer at least once.13
- About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.14
- Treatment of non-melanoma skin cancers increased by nearly 77 percent between 1992 and 2006.6
More facts about Skin Cancer can be obtained from these trusted sources:
- American Academy of Dermatology
Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month Sponsor
- SPOT Skin Cancer
American Academy of Dermatology
- Skin Cancer
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Skin Care and Aging
National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging
- Skin Cancer
National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute
- Protecting Yourself in the Sun
Occupational Health and Safety Administration
- SunWise: Sun safety for kids and educators
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- American Cancer Society
American Cancer Society - "Be Safe In The Sun"
- Melanoma Research Foundation
Melanoma Research Foundation
- Dep. of Health and Human Services
U.S. Departmanet of Health and Human Services
- M.D. Anderson
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
1 American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2011.
2 Robinson, JK. Sun Exposure, Sun Protection and Vitamin D. JAMA 2005; 294: 1541-43.
3 Hemminki K, Dong C. Subsequent cancers after in situ and invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. Arch Dermatol 2000; 136: 647-51.
4 Rogers, HW, Weinstock, MA, Harris, AR, et al. Incidence estimate of nonmelanoma skin cancer in the United States, 2006. Arch Dermatol 2010; 146(3):283-287.
5 American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2010. Accessed January 24, 2011.
6 Stern, RS. Prevalence of a history of skin cancer in 2007: results of an incidence-based model. Arch Dermatol 2010; 146(3):279-282.
7 Altekruse SF, Kosary CL, Krapcho M, et al. SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2007. Accessed January 24, 2011.
8 The Lewen Group, Inc. The burden of skin diseases 2005. The Society for Investigative Dermatology and The American Academy of Dermatology Association. 2005.
9 Criscione, VD, Weinstock, MA, Naylor, MF, Luque, C, Eide, MJ and Bingham, SF. Actinic keratoses natural history and risk of malignant transformation in the Veterans Affairs Tropical Tretinoin Chemoprevention Trial. Cancer 2009; 115: 2523-2530.
10 Rogers, Howard. "Your new study of nonmelanoma skin cancers." Email to The Skin Cancer Foundation. March 31, 2010.
11 Squamous Cell Carcinoma. American Academy of Dermatology. Accessed November 1, 2010.
12 Rogers, Howard. "Your new study of nonmelanoma skin cancers." Email to The Skin Cancer Foundation. April 1, 2010.
13 Sun Protection. Cancer Trends Progress Report - 2009/2010 Update. National Cancer Institute. Accessed November 1, 2010.
14 Pleasance ED, Cheetham RK, Stephens PJ, et al. A comprehensive catalogue of somatic mutations from a human cancer genome. Nature; 2009; 463:191-196.