Since its founding in 1979, The Skin Cancer Foundation has set the standard for educating the public and the medical profession about skin cancer, its prevention by means of sun protection, the need for early detection, and prompt, effective treatment. It is the only international organization devoted solely to combating the world's most common cancer, now occurring at epidemic levels.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the world, with more than 13 million cases diagnosed annually. One of every three cancers diagnosed is a skin cancer, and up to 65,161 people die every year from skin cancer. The incidence of melanoma continues to rise at a rate faster than that of any of the seven most common cancers.
Each year in the U.S. there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon. Almost 9,000 people die from melanoma in the U.S. every year. Nonmelanoma cancers such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma have reached critical levels, with squamous cell carcinoma killing 2,500 people each year.
Ninety percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. A person's risk for skin cancer doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns. Just one blistering sunburn in childhood more than doubles a Caucasian's chances of developing melanoma later in life. However, the incidence of skin cancer can be dramatically reduced through education, behavior modification, and early detection. Skin cancer is primarily a lifestyle disease which is why The Skin Cancer Foundation emphasizes public awareness and education campaigns.