Skin cancer stats
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than one million skin cancers are diagnosed annually.
- Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer; about one million of the cases diagnosed annually are basal cell carcinomas. Basal cell carcinomas are rarely fatal, but can be highly disfiguring.
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. More than 250,000 cases are diagnosed each year1, resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths.
- Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the two major forms of non-melanoma skin cancer. Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have either skin cancer at least once.
- In 2004, the total direct cost associated with the treatment for non-melanoma skin cancers was more than $1 billion.
- About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
- Up to 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by the sun.
Contrary to popular belief, 80 percent of a person's lifetime sun exposure is not acquired before age 18; only about 23 percent of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18.8.
Lifetime UV Exposure in the United States
|Ages||Average Accumulated Exposure*|
*Based on a 78-year lifespan