Education, prevention and support for the most serious form of skin cancer.

Facts about Melanoma and Skin Cancer

  1. The incidence of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, is rising faster than that of any other cancer.
  2. In almost all cases, melanoma arises from a previously existing mole, and it may spread to other locations if not treated.
  3. Melanoma is growing at an epidemic rate with an estimated 3% increase in cases annually. An estimated 63,000 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed yearly, with approximately 8,000 deaths yearly from malignant melanoma and another 2,500 deaths from non-melanoma skin cancers. One person dies every hour from skin cancer, primarily melanoma.
  4. Melanoma accounts for 5% of all skin cancers and 71% of all skin cancer deaths. It is estimated that one in every 50 Americans is diagnosed with melanoma.
  5. Although the average age of diagnosis is 52, melanoma is the second most common cancer in people aged 15-29.
  6. Melanoma can arise at any age but most commonly occurs after puberty.
  7. When melanoma is detected at an early stage, surgical removal cures the disease in most cases.
  8. Genetic factors are the most important of known risk factors, including the familiar tendency to develop melanoma, prominent moles, and atypical moles.
  9. Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation in sunlight is believed to be a contributing factor to most cases of melanoma; short periods of intense exposure, such as sunbathing is associated with higher risk.
  10. The most important warning sign for skin cancer is a spot on the skin that is changing in size, shape, or color.
  11. Careful skin self-examination is associated with reductions in late-stage melanoma.
  12. Patient or family-discovered melanoma accounts for more than half of all melanoma diagnoses.
  13. Thirty percent of all melanoma in men arises on the back—it is important to ask your doctor to examine your skin carefully for atypical moles.
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