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Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer: Statistics

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What are statistics?

Some people use numbers called statistics to figure out their chances of getting cancer. Or they use them to try to figure out their chance of being cured. Because no 2 people are alike, statistics can’t be used to predict what will happen to one person. The statistics below describe large groups of people. They do not take into account a person's own risk factors, such as family history, behaviors, or cancer screenings. If you have questions, talk with your health care provider.

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Skin cancer accounts for nearly half of all cancer cases. Protecting your skin from the sun is vital. It’s also important to examine your skin on a regular basis. Become familiar with moles or other skin conditions in order to better identify changes. If you or your family has a history of skin cancer, visit a dermatologist regularly for routine skin checkups.

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What are the statistics for nonmelanoma skin cancer?

Here are some statistics about nonmelanoma skin cancer:

  • Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer.

  • Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common types of skin cancer.

  • About 2.2 million people are diagnosed with basal and squamous cell skin cancers in the United States each year. (This is an estimate. Nonmelanoma skin cancers are not required to be reported to cancer registries.)

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

  • People with lighter skin who burn easily or have freckles are much more likely to get skin cancer. People with darker skin are less likely to get skin cancer.

  • Exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays is the most important risk factor for skin cancer, but only a little over half of American adults use sun protection.

  • Most skin cancers appear in older people, but skin damage from the sun begins at an early age. Sun protection should start in childhood to prevent skin cancer later in life.

Sources:  American Cancer Society (ACS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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