2009 Skin Cancer Fact Sheet
  • More than 1 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States every year.1
  • Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the two most common forms of skin cancer, but are easily treated if detected early.1
  • Current estimates are that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.2
  • The incidence of melanoma has been steadily increasing for the past 30 years.
  • Since 1992, melanoma has increased 3.1 percent annually in non-Hispanic Caucasians, but in recent years it is increasing more rapidly in young white women
  • (3.8 % since 1995) and men age 65 and older (8.8 %since 2003).1,3
  • Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old.4
  • Melanoma is increasing faster in females 15-29 years old than males in the same age group. In females 15-29 years old, the torso is the most common location for developing melanoma, which might be due to high-risk tanning behaviors.4
  • Melanoma in individuals 10-39 years old is highly curable, with 5-year survival rates exceeding 90 %.4
  • 1 in 58 men and women will be diagnosed with melanoma during their lifetime. Caucasians and men older than 50 years of age are at a higher risk of developing melanoma than the general population.5
  • It is estimated that there will be about 121,840 new cases of melanoma in 2009 — 53,120 noninvasive (in situ) and 68,720 invasive (39,080 men and 29,640 women).1
  • One American dies of melanoma almost every hour (every 61 minutes). In 2009, 8,650 deaths will be attributed to melanoma — 5,550 men and 3,100 women.1
  • The World Health Organization estimates that as many as 65,161 people a year worldwide die from too much sun, mostly from malignant skin cancer.6
  • People with more than 50 moles, atypical moles, or a family history of melanoma are at an increased risk of developing melanoma.1
  • About 75 percent of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma.1
  • The five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 99 percent.1
  • Five-year survival rates for regional and distant stage melanomas are 65 percent and 15 percent, respectively.1
  • In 2004, the total direct cost associated with the treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer was $1.5 billion.7
  • The American Cancer Society recommends a skin cancer-related checkup and counseling about sun exposure as part of any periodic health examination for men and women beginning at age 20.1
  • Individuals with a history of melanoma should have a full body exam at least annually and perform regular self-exams for new and changing moles.8

  • 1 American Cancer Society. 2009 Cancer Facts and Figures.
    2 Robinson JK. Sun Exposure, Sun Protection, and Vitamin D. JAMA 2005; 294: 1541-43.
    3 Linos E, Swetter S, Cockburn MG, Colditz GA, Clarke CA. Increasing burden of melanoma in the United States. J Invest Derm. 8 January 2009 doi:10.1038/jid.2008.423.
    4 Cancer Epidemiology in Older Adolescents & Young Adults. SEER AYA Monograph Pages 53-57. 2007.
    5 Melanoma of the Skin, Cancer Fact Sheets, National Cancer Institute, SEER database, 2007.
    6 World Health Organization, Solar ultraviolet radiation: Global burden of disease from solar ultraviolet radiation. Environmental Burden of Disease Series, N.13. 2006.
    7 Bickers DR, Lim HW, Margolis D et al. The burden of skin diseases: 2004 a joint project of the American Academy of Dermatology Association and the Society for Investigative Dermatology. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2006; 55: 490-500.
    8 Berg A. Screening for skin cancer. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, 2007