Surprising Facts About Skin Cancer 2021
May is skin cancer awareness month, and there’s no time like the present to learn about skin cancer risk factors and detection and prevention practices. Since the incidence of skin cancer rises every year, affecting more and more people in the U.S. and throughout the world, you can’t be too careful in preventing skin cancer and checking yourself and your loved ones for warning signs.
Here are some little-known statistics and facts about skin cancer:
- The American Cancer Society estimates about 106,110 new melanomas will be diagnosed (about 62,260 in men and 43,850 in women in the United States in 2021.
- About 7,180 people are expected to die of melanoma (about 4,600 men and 2,580 women), according to the American Cancer Society’s estimates for 2021.
- Before the age of 50, women are at higher risk of developing melanoma than men. However, after 50, the rate of melanoma increases in men such that their risk is twice that of women by age 65.
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer, making it the most common cancer in the United States.
- Around 9,500 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every day.
Skin Cancer Risk Factors:
- Skin cancer can affect anyone at any age and of any skin color although more common in adults and lighter skin types.
- Caucasians have a higher risk of melanoma, but people of color are less likely to survive melanoma, often because it’s diagnosed late. People of color can develop skin cancer in areas that aren’t exposed to the sun, like the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
- Melanoma in Caucasian women under 44 increases by about 6.1% every year, probably due to wider use of indoor tanning. In fact, studies suggest that indoor tanning is responsible for over 400,000 skin cancer incidents in the U.S. every year.
- In females age 15 to 29, melanoma is the second most common form of cancer. And within this age group, its incidence is increasing more quickly among females.
- Sustaining a bad sunburn during your childhood or teenage years can double your risk of developing melanoma. If you sustain five or more severe sunburns between the ages of 15 and 20, your risk of melanoma increases by 80%, and your risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer increases by 68%.
- People with fair skin, freckles, and blond or red hair are more likely to develop any type of skin cancer.
- People with over 50 moles or unusual moles are more likely to develop melanoma.
- Having a family history of melanoma also increases your risk.
Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention:
- Using SPF 30 broad spectrum sunscreen daily can cut your risk of developing melanoma – the deadliest type of skin cancer – in half.
- About half of melanomas are self-detected. We encourage you to regularly check yourself for signs of skin cancer. When checking for warning signs, use the ABCDE acronym. Check for moles that are asymmetrical (A), have irregular or undefined borders (B), blend a variety of colors (C), have a diameter of about ¼ inch or 6mm (D), and grow or evolve over time (E).
- The best way to prevent skin cancer is to wear sunscreen, avoid UV light from the sun and tanning beds, and see your dermatologist annually for a skin exam.
- Women are nine times more likely than men to notice signs of melanoma on others. Women (or anybody) can potentially save their partner’s or friend’s life by checking them for skin cancer.
- Now that you know more about skin cancer and how to prevent and detect it, share your knowledge with others so you can protect the people you love – after all, that’s what skin cancer awareness is.