Skin Cancer Facts & Statistics

What You Need to Know

Get the facts about skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide.

  • 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.
  • More than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour.
  • Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma.
  • When detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99 percent.

There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to skin cancer, so make sure you know all the facts. You can #SharetheFacts on social media by downloading images from our Skin Cancer Awareness Toolkit. For the latest news, visit our Press Room.

General facts

  • In the U.S., more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. More than two people die of the disease every hour.1,2,9
  • More than 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer were treated in over 3.3 million people in the U.S. in 2012, the most recent year new statistics were available.1
  • More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined.2
  • At least one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.3
  • Actinic keratosis is the most common precancer; it affects more than 58 million Americans.4
  • 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.5

Nonmelanoma skin cancer

  • The diagnosis and treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancers in the U.S. increased by 77 percent between 1994 and 2014.6
  • About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.7
  • Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer. An estimated 3.6 million cases of BCC are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.8,1
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. An estimated 1.8 million cases of SCC are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.8,1
  • More than 5,400 people worldwide die of nonmelanoma skin cancer every month.27
  • Organ transplant patients are approximately 100 times more likely than the general public to develop squamous cell carcinoma.10
  • One study found that regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent when used as directed.11
  • About 3,000 new cases of Merkel cell carcinoma occur in the U.S. each year. About 40 percent of cases recur.43


  • It’s estimated that the number of new melanoma cases diagnosed in 2024 will increase by 7.3 percent.2
  • The number of melanoma deaths is expected to increase by 3.8 percent in 2024. 2
  • An estimated 200,340 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2024. Of those, 99,700 cases will be in situ (noninvasive), confined to the epidermis (the top layer of skin), and 100,640 cases will be invasive, penetrating the epidermis into the skin’s second layer (the dermis). Of the invasive cases, 59,170 will be men and 41,470 will be women.2
  • In the past decade (2014 – 2024), the number of new invasive melanoma cases diagnosed annually increased by 32 percent.2,40
  • An estimated 8,290 people will die of melanoma in 2024. Of those, 5,430 will be men and 2,860 will be women.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
  • Compared with stage I melanoma patients treated within 30 days of being biopsied, those treated 30 to 59 days after biopsy have a 5 percent higher risk of dying from the disease, and those treated more than 119 days after biopsy have a 41 percent higher risk.13
  • Across all stages of melanoma, the average five-year survival rate in the U.S. is 94 percent. The estimated five-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early is over 99 percent. The survival rate falls to 74 percent when the disease reaches the lymph nodes and 35 percent when the disease metastasizes to distant organs.2
  • Only 20 to 30 percent of melanomas are found in existing moles, while 70 to 80 percent arise on apparently normal skin.14
  • On average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if they have had more than five sunburns.15 
  • One study found that regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent, when used as directed.16
  • Melanoma accounts for 6 percent of new cancer cases in men, and 4 percent of new cancer cases in women. 2
  • Men age 49 and under have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer but colon and rectum cancers.2
  • From ages 15 to 39, men are 55 percent more likely to die of melanoma than women in the same age group.17
  • Women age 49 and under are more likely to develop melanoma than any other cancer except breast and thyroid cancers.2
  • From age 50 on, significantly more men develop melanoma than women. The majority of people who develop melanoma are white men over age 55. But until age 49, significantly more non-Hispanic white women develop melanoma than white men (one in 160 women versus one in 243 men). Overall, one in 28 white men and one in 41 white women will develop melanoma in their lifetime.2

Indoor 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
  • Ultraviolet (UV) tanning devices were reclassified by the FDA from Class I (low risk) to Class II (moderate to high risk) devices as of September 2, 2014.20
  • Indoor tanning devices can emit UV radiation in amounts 10 to 15 times higher than the sun at its peak intensity.41
  • Twenty states plus the District of Columbia prohibit people younger than 18 from using indoor tanning devices: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia. Oregon and Washington prohibit those under age 18 from using indoor tanning devices unless a prescription is provided.21
  • Australia, Brazil and Iran have banned indoor tanning altogether.22
  • The cost of direct medical care for skin cancer cases attributable to indoor tanning is $343.1 million annually in the U.S.23
  • 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.24
  • More people develop skin cancer because of indoor tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking.26
  • Those who have ever tanned indoors have a 83 percent increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma43 and a 29 percent increased risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.24
  • Any history of indoor tanning increases the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma before age 40 by 69 percent.25
  • Women who have ever tanned indoors are six times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma in their 20s than those who have never tanned indoors. At all ages, the more women tan indoors, the higher their risk of developing melanoma.26
  • One study observing 63 women diagnosed with melanoma before age 30 found that 61 of them (97 percent) had used tanning beds.26
  • People who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent.28
  • Indoor tanning among U.S. high school students decreased by 53 percent between 2009 and 2015.29

Skin aging

  • An estimated 80 percent of skin aging is caused by the sun.30
  • 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.31
  • Sun damage is cumulative. Only about 23 percent of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18.32
Ages     Average Accumulated Sun Exposure*
1-18       23 percent
19-40       47 percent
41-59       74 percent
60-78       100 percent
*Based on a 78-year life span


  • The estimated five-year melanoma survival rate for Black patients is only 71 percent, versus 94 percent for white patients.2
  • Skin cancer represents approximately 2 to 4 percent of all cancers in Asians.33
  • Skin cancer represents 4 to 5 percent of all cancers in Hispanics.35
  • Skin cancer represents 1 to 2 percent of all cancers in Black people.3
  • Melanomas in Black people, Asians and native Hawaiians most often occur on nonexposed skin with less pigment, with up to 60 to 75 percent of tumors arising on the palms, soles, mucous membranes and nail regions.33
  • In nonwhite people, the plantar portion of the foot is often the most common site of skin cancer, being involved in 30 to 40 percent of cases.35
  • Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer in Black people.33
  • Late-stage melanoma diagnoses are more prevalent among Hispanic and Black people than non-Hispanic white people; 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.34
  • People of color have higher percentages of acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM, melanoma of the palms, soles and nailbeds) than Caucasians, whereas superficial spreading melanoma is the most frequent subtype in Caucasians and Hispanics.35


  • Melanoma in children and adolescents accounts for a tiny percentage of all new melanoma cases in the United States, with about 300 cases a year in children under 20 years old.36
  • Melanoma in children and adolescents accounts for 3 percent of all pediatric cancers in the United States.37
  • The treatment of childhood melanoma is often delayed due to misdiagnosis of pigmented lesions, which occurs up to 40 percent of the time.39


  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 2024. American Cancer Society. Accessed January 17, 2024.
  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. The Lewin Group, Inc. The Burden of Skin Diseases 2005. Prepared for the Society for Investigative Dermatology, Cleveland, OH, and the American Academy of Dermatology Assn., Washington, DC, 2005.
  5. 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 2015; 48(2):183-187. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2014.08.036.
  6. Mohan SV, Chang AL. Advanced basal cell carcinoma: epidemiology and therapeutic innovations. Curr Dermatol Rep 2014; 3(1):40-45. doi:10.1007/s13671-014-0069-y.
  7. Koh HK, Geller AC, Miller DR, et al. Prevention and early detection strategies for melanoma and skin cancer: Current status. Arch Dermatol 1996; 132(4):436-442.
  8. Our New Approach to a Challenging Skin Cancer Statistic. The Skin Cancer Foundation. Accessed January 20, 2024.
  9. Mansouri B, Housewright C. The treatment of actinic keratoses—the rule rather than the exception. J Am Acad Dermatol 2017; 153(11):1200. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2017.3395.
  10. Lindelöf B, Sigurgeirsson B, Gäbel H, et al. Incidence of skin cancer in 5356 patients following organ transplantation. Br J Dermatol 2000; 143(3):513-9.
  11. 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. The Lancet 1999; 354(9180):723-729.
  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. Conic RZ, Cabrera CI, Khorana AA, Gastman BR. Determination of the impact of melanoma surgical timing on survival using the National Cancer Database. J Am Acad Dermatol 2018; 78(1):40-46.e7. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2017.08.039.
  14. Cymerman RM, Shao Y, Wang K, et al. De novo versus nevus-associated melanomas: Differences in associations with prognostic indicators and survival. J Natl Cancer Inst 2016 May 27; 108(10). doi:10.1093/jnci/djw121.
  15. Pfahlberg A, Kölmel KF, 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. Br J Dermatol 2001; 144:3:471-475.
  16. 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.
  17. Fisher DE, Geller AC. Disproportionate burden of melanoma mortality in young US men. JAMA Dermatol 2013; 149(8): 903. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.20134437.
  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. Accessed January 26, 2018.
  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. doi:
  20. Tanning Lamps, Booths and Beds. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed January 30,2024.
  21. Indoor tanning restrictions for minors. AIM at Melanoma. Accessed January 30,2024.
  22. Mathes S, Lindwedel KS, Nilsen LT, Kaiser I, Pfahlberg AB, Gefeller O. Global Tanning Bed Advertising: A Comparison of Legal Regulations on Three Continents. Cancers (Basel). 2023;15(17):4362. Published 2023 Sep 1. doi: 3390/cancers15174362
  23. Waters HR, Adamson A. The health and economic implications of the use of tanning devices. J Cancer Policy 2017;
  24. Wehner MR, Chren MM, 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.
  25. Ferrucci LM, Cartmel B, Molinaro AM, et al. Indoor tanning and risk of early-onset basal cell carcinoma. J Am Acad Dermatol 2012 Oct; 67(4):552-62. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2011.11.940.
  26. Lazovich D, Vogel RI, Weinstock MA, et al. Association between indoor tanning and melanoma in younger men and women. JAMA Dermatol 2016; 152(3): 268–275. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.2938
  27. Global Burden of Disease Cancer Collaboration. Global, regional and national cancer incidence, mortality, years of life lost, years lived with disability, and disability-adjusted life-years for 29 cancer groups, 1990 to 2017. JAMA Oncol. 2019;5(12):1749-1768. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.2996.
  28. 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.
  29. Guy GP Jr, Berkowitz Z, Everett Jones S, et al. Prevalence of indoor tanning and association with sunburn among youth in the United States. JAMA Dermatol 2017; 153(5):387-390. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.6273.
  30. Flament F, Bazin R, Laquieze S, Rubert V, Simonpietri E, Piot B. Effect of the sun on visible clinical signs of aging in Caucasian skin. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2013;6:221-232. Published 2013 Sep 27. doi:10.2147/CCID.S44686Hughes MCB, Williams GM, Baker P, Green AC. Sunscreen and prevention of skin aging: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med 2013; 158(11):781-790.
  31. Godar DE, Urbach F, Gasparro FP, van der Leun JC. UV doses of young adults. Photochem Photobiol 2003; 77(4):453-7.
  32. Gloster HM, Neal K. Skin cancer in skin of color. J Am Acad Dermatol 2006; 55:741-60.
  33. Hu S, Soza-Vento RM, Parker DF, et al. 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. Bradford, Porcia T. Skin Cancer in Skin of Color. Dermatol Nurs 2009 Jul-Aug; 21(4): 170-178.
  35. Childhood Melanoma Treatment (PDQ) – Health Professional Version. National Cancer Institute. Accessed January 30, 2024.
  36. Han D, Zager JS, Han G, et al. The unique clinical characteristics of melanoma diagnosed in children. Ann Surg Oncol. 2012;19(12):3888–3895. doi:10.1245/s10434-012-2554-5
  37. Paulson KG, Gupta D, Kim TS, et al. Age-specific incidence of melanoma in the United States. JAMA Dermatol. 2020; 156(1):57–64. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2019.3353
  38. 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.
  39. Cancer Facts and Figures 2014. American Cancer Society. Accessed January 17, 2024.
  40. Le Clair MZ, Cockburn MG. Tanning bed use and melanoma: Establishing risk and improving prevention interventions. Prev Med Rep. 2016; 3:139–144. Published 2016 Jan 14. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2015.11.016
  41. McEvoy AM, Lachance K, Hippe DS, et al. Recurrence and Mortality Risk of Merkel Cell Carcinoma by Cancer Stage and Time From Diagnosis. JAMA Dermatol. 2022;158(4):382-389. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2021.6096

Last updated: February 2024

Last updated: February 2024

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