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Statistics About Skin Cancer

Some people use statistics to try to figure out their chances of getting cancer or of being cured. However, statistics show what happens to large groups of people. Because no two people are alike, statistics can't be used to predict what will happen to a particular person.

Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer. Types of skin cancer include the more common nonmelanoma (basal and squamous cell) cancers and the less common melanomas.

Here are some 2013 statistics about melanoma from the American Cancer Society (ACS):

  • About 76,690 people in the U.S. will get melanoma this year.

  • Rates of melanoma have been increasing for at least 30 years.

  • Melanoma is more often found in white people. They are about 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than African-Americans.

  • Before age 40, melanoma is more common in women than in men; after 40, rates are almost twice as high in men as in women.

  • About 9,480 people will die from melanoma this year.

Here are statistics about nonmelanoma skin cancer from the ACS for 2013:

  • About 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed each year (in about 2.2 million people), but it's hard to estimate these numbers because nonmelanoma skin cancers are not required to be reported to cancer registries.

  • White Americans are much more likely to get skin cancer than African-Americans. People with fair (light-colored) skin that freckles or burns easily are at especially high risk.

  • Nearly all basal and squamous cell cancers can be cured, especially if the cancer is found and treated early—when it's small and has not spread.

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