Skin Cancer Facts And Figures

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Skin Cancer Facts And Figures

A skin cancer diagnosis can be devastating. It can mean surgery, temporary disfigurement, or worse. SCARS Center surgical specialists encourage patients to know the facts about skin cancer. Protect yourself and your loved ones by learning more about skin cancer today. 

Skin Cancer Facts and Figures

  • 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.


  • Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma at least once.


  • Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.¹


  • One person dies of melanoma every hour.


  • About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.¹


  • You are more likely to develop skin cancer on the left side of your body due to exposure to UVA rays in sunlight while driving.


  • UVA exposure occurs through windows, on cloudy days, and by exposure to fluorescent light bulbs. Wearing sunscreen while in doors, will help protect your skin from damage.


  • Exposure from UV radiation from sunlight accounts for 90% of the symptoms of premature aging.


  • The average incidental time in the sun accounts for 80% of a person’s lifetime sun exposure.


  • Your bottom lip is 12x more likely to develop skin cancer than your top lip.


  • Bulbs in tanning beds are two to three times more intense than natural sunlight. One minute in a tanning bed is equivalent to three minutes in the sun.


  • About 86% of melanomas can be attributed to exposure to UV radiation from the sun.


  • Glass windows only block UVB rays, not UVA rays.


  • 1 ounce, or two tablespoons, of sunscreen should be applied every 2 hours to maintain a safe level of SPF protection.


  • Regular use of sunscreen will reduce a person’s risk of developing skin cancer by 40%.


  • SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays


  • SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays


  • SPF 100 blocks 99% of UVB rays


  • Water resistant sunscreen holds up against water exposure, but only lasts up to 40 minutes after sun exposure. Water resistant sunscreen should be reapplied 30 minutes after water exposure for maximum effectiveness.


  • Waterproof sunscreen is not completely water resistant, but can last up to 80 minutes after sun exposure.


  • When applying sunscreen the three most commonly neglected areas are the ears, feet, and behind the knees. Remember to apply sunscreen to these areas to avoid sunburn and future skin damage.


  • When flying you are exposed to more intense UV rays, however, airplane windows do not block UV rays.


  • Men are almost twice as likely to develop and die of skin cancer than women in the United States.
  • Melanomas in blacks, Asians, Filipinos, Indonesians, and native Hawaiians most often occur on non-exposed skin with less pigment, with up to 60-75 percent of tumors arising on the palms, soles, mucous membranes and nail regions.¹
  • Outdoor athletes have an increased risk of skin cancer.
  • Animals can also get skin cancer, just like humans.
  • Those who develop skin cancer are 53% more likely to develop other forms of internal cancers such as breast cancer and lung cancer.
  • Melanoma is the 2nd most common type of cancer for those aged 15-29.
  • Your risk for developing melanoma doubles if you have had more than five sunburns.
  • Melanoma accounts for up to three percent of all pediatric cancers.¹


1. Skin Cancer Facts & Statistics.” Skin Cancer Foundation, Accessed 1 December 2017.

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