Infographic: Skin Cancer

More Fun, Less Sun

Understand the risks associated with skin cancer and how to protect yourself.

Skin cancers are the most common cancer with some 5.4 million new cases reported per year in the U.S., and the majority of cases are linked to ultraviolet (UV) light that people usually receive from sun exposure.

  • 20% of people will have skin cancer at some point
  • 90% of skin cancers are linked to sun exposure
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma 80%
  • Melanoma 1%
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma 19%

Not all skin cancers are the same.

Most skin cancers are relatively easy to treat, and the most dangerous form – melanoma – accounts for 1% of cases. Treatments range from minor surgery to more extensive surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

  • 4 million+ cases per year
  • Treatment: minor surgery or local treatment

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

  • 1 million+ cases per year
  • Treatment: Minor surgery or topical medication

Melanoma

  • 87,000 cases per year
  • Most dangerous, about 9,000 deaths per year
  • Treatment: usually includes surgery and/or chemotherapy or radiation, depending on severity

You can reduce your risk of skin cancer.

  1. Avoid UV rays

    by seeking shade from midday sun and avoiding tanning beds

  2. Apply sunscreen

    year-round outdoors, whatever the activity

  3. Wear protective clothing

    such as hats, long sleeves and sunglasses with UV protection

You may be at increased risk of skin cancer if you:

  • Have fair skin
  • Have a history of sunburns
  • Spend a lot of time in the sun
  • Live in a sunny or high-altitude location
  • Have a large number of moles
  • Used a tanning bed

Early detection improves outcomes.

See a doctor if you notice a spot that is new, changing or unusual; bleeds and doesn't heal; or is sensitive to touch.

Produced by Mayo Clinic. Sources: mayoclinic.org; cancer.org; skincancer.org

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