Education, prevention and support for the most serious form of skin cancer.
Facts about Melanoma and Skin Cancer
- The incidence of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, is rising faster than that of any other cancer.
- In almost all cases, melanoma arises from a previously existing mole, and it may spread to other locations if not treated.
- 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.
- Melanoma accounts for 5% of all skin cancers and 71% of all skin cancer deaths. By 2010, it is estimated that one in every 50 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma.
- Although the average age of diagnosis is 52, melanoma is the second most common cancer in people aged 25-29.
- Melanoma can arise at any age but most commonly occurs after puberty.
- No significant advances in medical treatment for patients with advanced melanoma have occurred in the past 30 years. Melanoma currently ranks #8 on the National Cancer Institute Researching Funding list.
- When melanoma is detected at an early stage, surgical removal cures the disease in most cases.
- Genetic factors are the most important of known risk factors, including the familiar tendency to develop melanoma, prominent moles, and atypical moles.
- 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.
- The most important warning sign for skin cancer is a spot on the skin that is changing in size, shape, or color.
- Careful skin self-examination is associated with reductions in late-stage melanoma.
- Patient or family-discovered melanoma accounts for more than half of all melanoma diagnoses.
- 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.