The Facts about Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is defined as a cancer that forms in the tissue of the skin and can cause tumors and death. It is a most common type of cancer in America and more then 3.5 million individuals are diagnosed with skin cancer annually. Skin cancer has more new cases then breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined.

Risk Factors

There are many risk factors in contracting skin cancer. If you have fairer skin due to less melanin, it provides you with less protection from damaging UV radiation due to prolonged sun exposure. If you have red hair, blonde hair, freckles or light colored eyes and sunburn easily, you are more at risk of skin cancer then a person with darker skin.

If you have a history of sunburns and have had more than five sunburns in the last year, then your risk for skin cancer is doubled. Prolonged exposure to the sun and its harmful rays with the use of sunscreen puts you more at risk then those who wear sun block.

Indoor tanning is another risk factor, and those who make only 4 visits annually can raise their risk of developing skin cancer by a little over 11 percent. People who are prone to a lot of moles or have abnormally large moles on their skin known as dysplastic nevi are at an increased risk of skin cancer.

Further, People who have precancerous skin legions known as actinic keratoses are at a much higher risk of developing skin cancer. Those with a family history and people who have skin cancer before are even at greater risk. People who have low immune systems could also have big problems.

The Plain Facts

One in every five American people will contract skin cancer during their life. Over the last three decades, tons of people have developed skin cancer then all the other cancers put together. Actinic keratosis can be horrible, and it is a very common precancerous skin lesion condition and affects nearly 60 million Americans.

Nearly sixty-five percent in all SCC cases are born of lesions that were once diagnosed as being actinic keratosis and nearly forty percent of all BCC cases are born of a previous diagnosis of actinic keratosis skin lesions.

BCC is one of the most diagnosed forms of skin cancer. It is rarely deadly, but it has the potential to highly disfigure an individual if it not treated in a timely manner. SCC is also a very common type of skin related cancer.

There are an estimated seven hundred thousand incidents of it are documented yearly in the United States, which results in between two and three thousand deaths. Between forty and fifty percent of people living in the U.S., men and women alike, will have some a form of skin cancer during their life at some stage.

One in 50 women and men will be given a diagnosis of melanoma within their lifetime. An estimated 76,250 new incidences of melanoma will be diagnosed in the United States in 2012, which will result in an average of 9,180 deaths. A person dies from melanoma every single hour. Melanoma is one of the most seen forms of cancer that is seen in young adults ‘who are in their mid to late twenties. It is also one of the most seen types of cancer for people in their mid-teens to late twenties.

Survival rates for those who have it detected early are good. This is if they catch it before it enters into the skin. The rate is nearly 99 percent if caught early, while the rate lowers to 15 percent in those who have advanced stages of skin cancer. The diagnosis of melanoma on average continues to increase at an incredibly fast rate. It rose 3.1 percent yearly between 1992 and 2004.

Melanoma is contributed to less than 5 percent of all skin cancer diagnoses, but is responsible for more then 75 percent of all skin cancer related deaths. Women under the age of 39 have a larger chance of contracting melanoma than any types of other cancer, with breast cancer being the exception. Nearly 66 percent of all melanoma diagnoses can be due to prolonged ultraviolet radiation the sun throws off.

People who survive melanoma are about 9 times more likely as the average person to develop a new form of melanoma. An estimated 44,250 new diagnoses of invasive melanoma in men and 32,000 in women will be made in the United States in 2012. An estimated 3,120 women and 6,060 men in the United States will die as a result of melanoma in 2012. The incidence of melanoma has increased by 800 percent among young women and 400 percent among young men from 1970 to 2009. Most individuals diagnosed with melanoma are Caucasian men over the age of 50. Other important facts about skin cancer are listed below.

  • One in 58 Caucasian women and one in 39 Caucasian men will develop a form of melanoma within their lifetime.

  • Caucasian men over the age of 65 have shown an 8.8 annual increase in melanoma diagnosis since 2003.

  • In the last 30 years the number of women under the age of 40 diagnosed with basal carcinoma has more then doubled and the number of women under age 40 diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma has increased more then 700 percent.

  • Indoor tanning is 74 percent more likely to cause the development of melanoma.

  • Those who regularly tan are more than likely to get BCC, and will even get SCC. Melanoma is the culprit in about 3 percent of diagnosed pediatric cancers.

  • In 40 percent of pediatric cases, treatment and diagnosis are delayed.

  • Melanoma is very uncommon amongst African Americans, Asians and Latinos, but is often fatal.

  • In 2004 the total cost associated with the treatment for no melanoma forms of skin cancer was more then $1.5 billion dollars.

As with any type of cancer, prevention is very crucial to stop the development of skin cancer and can save a lot of lives. You should always be aware of any changes in appearance of your skin.


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