Information about skin cancer

Skin cancer is the disease where abnormal cells in the skin grow out of control due to unrepaired DNA damage, and is by far the most prevalent type of cancer in the world today¹.

Across the globe, more than 1.3 million people were diagnosed with skin cancer in 2018, a number that is likely to be an underestimate². While statistics show that as much as 86% of melanoma skin cancer cases could be preventable³, it is estimated that one in five Americans will suffer from skin cancer by the age of 70⁴. Exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun and indoor tanning beds is considered to be the leading cause of skin cancer.

1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer before the age of 70

Skin cancer is usually divided in two categories; malignant melanoma and non-melanoma. Non-melanoma skin cancer is mainly comprised of Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC). While BCC is the most common type of skin cancer, it is also the least dangerous⁵. Melanoma represents the rarest form of skin cancer, but despite its relatively low occurrence, melanoma is the type of skin cancer that is responsible for the vast majority of skin cancer deaths⁶. Unfortunately, melanoma rates have also increased rapidly over the last decades⁷.

The good news is that skin cancer is often easily treatable when detected early. If skin cancer is identified in the earliest stages, removal of the skin lesion is often the only required intervention. While skin cancer rarely is fatal when caught early, more than 6 people in the UK die every day from the disease⁸, and the annual treatment costs of skin cancer in the US is estimated to be $8.1 billion⁹. This makes it apparent that there is a big need for screening and diagnosis standards to improve.


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