Skin Cancer Facts & Statistics

GENERAL MELANOMA TANNING SKIN AGING MEN/WOMEN ETHNICITY PEDIATRICS


GENERAL

  • Each year in the U.S. over 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer are treated in more than 3.3 million people.1
     
  • Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer1 than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.2
     
  • Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.3
     
  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.4
     
  • 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.5
     
  • Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer. BCCs are rarely fatal, but can be highly disfiguring if allowed to grow.6
     
  • Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer.7
     
  • Organ transplant patients are approximately 100 times more likely than the general public to develop squamous cell carcinoma.8
     
  • Actinic keratosis is the most common precancer; it affects more than 58 million Americans.9
     
  • About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.10
     
  • The annual cost of treating skin cancers in the U.S. is estimated at $8.1 billion: about $4.8 billion for nonmelanoma skin cancers and $3.3 billion for melanoma.11

MELANOMA

  • One person dies of melanoma every hour (every 52 minutes).2
     
  • An estimated 76,380 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2016.2
     
  • An estimated 10,130 people will die of melanoma in 2016.2
     
  • Melanoma accounts for less than one percent of skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.2
     
  • The vast majority of melanomas are caused by the sun. In fact, one UK study found that about 86 percent of melanomas can be attributed to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.12
     
  • Melanoma is one of only three cancers with an increasing mortality rate for men, along with liver cancer and esophageal cancer.13
     
  • The estimated 5-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early is about 98 percent in the U.S. The survival rate falls to 63 percent when the disease reaches the lymph nodes, and 17 percent when the disease metastasizes to distant organs.2
     
  • On average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns.15
     
  • Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent16 and the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.17

TANNING

  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a proven human carcinogen.18
     
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an affiliate of the World Health Organization, includes ultraviolet (UV) tanning devices in its Group 1, a list of agents that are cancer-causing to humans.  Group 1 also includes agents such as plutonium, cigarettes and solar UV radiation.19
     
  • As of September 2, 2014, ultraviolet (UV) tanning devices were reclassified by the FDA from Class I (low risk), to Class II (moderate risk) devices.20
     
  • Eleven states plus the District of Columbia now prohibit indoor tanning for minors younger than age 18: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Texas and Vermont. Oregon and Washington prohibit minors under age 18 from using indoor tanning devices, unless a prescription is provided.21
     
  • Brazil and Australia have banned indoor tanning altogether. Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom have banned indoor tanning for people younger than age 18.22
     
  • More than 419,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year are linked to indoor tanning, including about 245,000 basal cell carcinomas, 168,000 squamous cell carcinomas, and 6,200 melanomas.23
     
  • More people develop skin cancer because of tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking.23
     
  • Those who have ever tanned indoors have a 67 percent increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma and a 29 percent increased risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.23
     
  • Those who have ever tanned indoors have a 69 percent risk of developing basal cell carcinoma before age 40.24
     
  • Individuals who have used tanning beds 10 or more times in their lives have a 34 percent increased risk of developing melanoma compared to those who have never used tanning beds.25
     
  • People who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent.26

SKIN AGING

  • An estimated 90 percent of skin aging is caused by the sun.27
     
  • People who use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher daily show 24 percent less skin aging than those who do not use sunscreen daily.28
     
  • Sun damage is cumulative. Only about 23 percent of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18.29


Lifetime UV Exposure in the United States

AgesAverage Accumulated Exposure*
1-18 23 percent
19-40 47 percent
41-59 74 percent
60-78 100 percent
*Based on a 78 year lifespan

MEN/WOMEN

  • From ages 15-39, men are 55 percent more likely to die of melanoma than women in the same age group.30
     
  • An estimated 46,870 new cases of invasive melanoma in men and 29,510 in women will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2016.2
     
  • An estimated 6,750 men and 3,380 women in the U.S. will die from melanoma in 2016.2
     
  • Women aged 49 and under have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer except breast and thyroid cancers.2
     
  • Up until age 49, significantly more women develop melanoma than men (1 in 206 women vs. 1 in 297 men). From age 50 on, significantly more men develop melanoma than women. Overall, one in 33 men and one in 52 women will develop melanoma in their lifetimes.2
     
  • The majority of people diagnosed with melanoma are white men over age 55.31
     

ETHNICITY

  • The estimated 5-year melanoma survival rate for blacks is only 70 percent, versus 93 percent for whites.2
     
  • Skin cancer represents approximately two to four percent of all cancers in Asians.32
     
  • Skin cancer comprises one to two percent of all cancers in blacks and Asian Indians.32
     
  • 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. 32
     
  • Basal cell carcinoma is the most common cancer in Caucasians, Hispanics, Chinese Asians and the Japanese.32
     
  • Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer among blacks and Asian Indians.32
     
  • Squamous cell carcinomas in blacks tend to be more aggressive and are associated with a 20-40 percent risk of metastasis (spreading).32
     
  • Late-stage melanoma diagnoses are more prevalent among minority patients than Caucasian patients; 52 percent of non-Hispanic black patients and 26 percent of Hispanic patients receive an initial diagnosis of advanced stage melanoma, versus 16 percent of non-Hispanic white patients.33
     

PEDIATRICS

  • Melanoma accounts for up to three percent of all pediatric cancers.2
     
  • The treatment of childhood melanoma is often delayed due to misdiagnosis of pigmented lesions, which occurs up to 40 percent of the time.34
     

REFERENCES

  1. Rogers HW, Weinstock MA, Feldman SR, Coldiron BM. Incidence estimate of nonmelanoma skin cancer (keratinocyte carcinomas) in the US population, 2012. JAMA Dermatol 2015; 151(10):1081-1086.
  2. Cancer Facts and Figures 2016. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@research/documents/document/acspc-047079.pdf. Accessed March 17, 2016.
  3. Stern, RS. Prevalence of a history of skin cancer in 2007: results of an incidence-based model. Arch Dermatol 2010; 146(3):279-282.
  4. Robinson, JK. Sun exposure, sun protection, and vitamin D. JAMA 2005; 294:1541-43.
  5. UV Exposure and Sun Protective Practices. Cancer Trends Progress Report – March 2015 Update. National Cancer Institute. http://progressreport.cancer.gov/prevention/sun_protection. Accessed February 16, 2016.
  6. Mohan SV, Chang ALS. Advanced basal cell carcinoma: epidemiology and therapeutic innovations. Curr Dermatol Rep 2014; 3(1):40-45. Published online Feb 9, 2014. doi: 10.1007/s13671-014-0069-y.
  7. Karia PS, Han J, Schmults CD. Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma: estimated incidence of disease, nodal metastasis, and deaths from disease in the United States, 2012. J Am Acad Dermatol 2013 June; 68(6):957-66.
  8. Lindelof B, Sigurgeirsson B, Gabel H, Stern RS. Incidence of skin cancer in 5356 patients following organ transplantation. Br J Dermatol 2000; 143(3):513-9.
  9. The Lewen Group, Inc. The burden of skin diseases 2005. The Society for Investigative Dermatology and The American Academy of Dermatology Association. 2005.
  10. Koh HK, Geller AC, Miller DR, Grossbart TA, Lew RA. Prevention and early detection strategies for melanoma and skin cancer: Current status. Arch Dermatol 1996; 132(4):436-442.
  11. Guy GP, Machlin SR, Ekwueme DU, Yabroff KR. Prevalence and costs of skin cancer treatment in the U.S., 2002-2006 and 2007-2011. Am J Prev Med 2014; 104(4):e69-e74.  DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2014.08.036.
  12. Parkin DM, Mesher D, Sasieni P. Cancers attributable to solar (ultraviolet) radiation exposure in the UK in 2010. Br J Cancer 2011; 105:S66-S69.
  13. Ahmedin J, Siegel R, Xu J, Ward E. Cancer Statistics, 2010. CA Cancer J Clin 2010; 60:288-296.
  14. Bleyer A, O’Leary M, Barr R, Ries LAG (eds): Cancer epidemiology in older adolescents and young adults 15 to 29 years of age, including SEER incidence and survival: 1975-2000. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute; 2006.
  15. Pfahlberg A, Kolmel K-F, Gefeller O. Timing of excessive ultraviolet radiation and melanoma: epidemiology does not support the existence of a critical period of high susceptibility to solar ultraviolet radiation-induced melanoma. Brit J Dermatol 2001; 144:3:471-475.
  16. Green A, Williams G, Neale R, et al. Daily sunscreen application and betacarotene supplementation in prevention of basal-cell and squamous-cell carcinomas of the skin: a randomized controlled trial. Lancet 1999; 354(9180):723-729.
  17. Green AC, Williams GM, Logan V, Strutton GM. Reduced melanoma after regular sunscreen use: randomized trial follow-up. J Clin Oncol 2011; 29(3):257-263.
  18. Ultraviolet-Radiation-Related Exposures. Broad-Spectrum UVR, pp. 1-5. NTP (National Toxicology Program). 2014. Report on Carcinogens, Thirteenth Edition. Research Triangle Park, NC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service. http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/roc/content/profiles/ultravioletradiationrelatedexposures.pdf. Accessed March 17, 2016.
  19. El Ghissassi F, Baan R, Straif K, et al. Special report: policy. A review of human carcinogens—part D: radiation. The Lancet 2009; 10(8):751-752.
  20. Ogden N. General and Plastic Surgery Devices: Reclassification of Ultraviolet Lamps for Tanning, Henceforth To Be Known as Sunlamp Products and Ultraviolet Lamps Intended for Use in Sunlamp Products. https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/06/02/2014-12546/general-and-plastic-surgery-devices-reclassification-of-ultraviolet-lamps-for-tanning-henceforth-to. Accessed February 4, 2016.
  21. NCSL, National Conference of State Legislatures. Indoor tanning restrictions for minors -- a state-by-state comparison. Updated July 1, 2015. http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/indoor-tanning-restrictions.aspx. Accessed February 5, 2016.
  22. Indoor Tanning Is Not Safe. Indoor Tanning Policies. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/indoor_tanning.htm. Last updated January 5, 2016, last reviewed January 22, 2016.
  23. Wehner M, Chren M-M, Nameth D, et al. International prevalence of indoor tanning: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Dermatol 2014; 150(4):390-400. Doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.6896.
  24. Ferrucci LM, Cartmel B, Molinaro AM, Leffell DJ, Bale AE, Mayne ST. Indoor tanning and risk of early-onset basal cell carcinoma. J Amer Acad Dermatol 2011. Dec 8 [epub ahead of print]
  25. Colantonio S, Bracken MB, Beecker J. The association of indoor tanning and melanoma in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis. J Am Acad Dermatol 2014; 70(5):847-857.e1-118.  doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2013.11.050. Epub 2014 Mar 12.
  26. The International Agency for Research on Cancer Working Group. The association of use of sunbeds with cutaneous malignant melanoma and other skin cancers: a systematic review. Int J Canc 2006; 120:1116-1122.
  27. Taylor CR, Stern RS, Leyden JJ, Gilchrest BA. Photoaging/photodamage and photoprotection. J Am Acad Dermatol 1990; 22:1-15.
  28. Hughes MCB, Williams GM, Baker P, Green AC. Sunscreen and prevention of skin aging: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med 2013; 158 (11):781-790.
  29. Godar DE, Urbach F, Gasparro FP, Van der Leun JC. UV doses of young adults. Photochem Photobiol 2003; 77(4):453-457.
  30. Fisher D, Geller A. Disproportionate burden of melanoma mortality in young US men. JAMA Dermatol 2013; 1-2.
  31. Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, et al (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2009 (Vintage 2009 Populations). Bethesa, MD: National Cancer Institute; http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2009_pops09/. Accessed August 22, 2012.
  32. Gloster HM, Neal K. Skin cancer in skin of color. J Amer Acad Dermatol 2006; 55:741-60.
  33. Hu S, Soza-Vento RM, Parker DF, Kirsner RS. Comparison of stage at diagnosis of melanoma among Hispanic, black, and white patients in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Arch Dermatol 2006; 142(6):704-8.
  34. Ferrari A, Bono A, Baldi M, et al. Does melanoma behave differently in younger children than in adults? A retrospective study of 33 cases of childhood melanoma from a single institution. Pediatrics 2005; 115(3):649-57.

The Skin Cancer Foundation, SkinCancer.org, (212) 725-5176

Last Updated: March 18, 2016