Every May, we prepare for the summer sun with a month of skin cancer education – prevention, signs, screenings, and more. Being the most common cancer in the US, as well as one of the most preventable, educating the population on how to prevent skin cancer is an endeavor supported by several national organizations, including the CDC and American Academy of Dermatology.
The Stats on Skin Cancer in the US
Melanoma and other skin cancers are so common here that it’s estimated 20% of the population will have skin cancer in their lifetime. Over 9000 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day, and around 20 people per day die of melanoma.
Here are a few more fast facts about skin cancer in the US:
- Around 200,000 new cases of melanoma were diagnosed in 2022.
- More than 1 million US adults live with melanoma.
- Men with melanoma have lower survival rates than women.
- Non-Hispanic Caucasian people are 30x as likely as Non-Hispanic African-American, Asian and Pacific Islanders to develop skin cancer.
- Experiencing 5+ sunburns that are bad enough to blister in your teenage years ups your risk of skin cancer by 68%.
- Non-melanoma skin cancers affect around 3 million Americans per year.
The thing is, most skin cancers that are detected early are highly-treatable with favorable remission rates. Actually, the thing is, skin cancers are often preventable in the first place, as especially melanomas are largely attributed to UV exposure. That’s why protecting your skin and regularly checking it for new marks is so important. This is especially true for people with darker skin; it’s harder to catch skin cancer early, so SPF and screenings are key.
Prevent Skin Cancer this May & Every Month
You can observe National Skin Cancer Awareness Month by:
- Know your family history of skin cancer and any other risk factors you may have.
- Check your skin (whole body and face) for unusual/new moles, freckles or other spots.
- Wear sunscreen every time you go outside, at least SPF 15.
- Bring sunscreen with you on days you’re outdoors and reapply every 2-3 hours.
- Don’t use tanning beds.
- Seek out shade when you can, and consider a hat on sunny days.
- Wear sunglasses that protect from UVA and UVB radiation.
- Dress smart: long sleeves, pants, cover-ups on the beach. A tan is not a sign of health.
Don’t just do these things in May; the sun’s out every day. Whether you can see it or not, the UV’s getting to you. Put some sunscreen on! Oh, and check out the CDC’s page on Sun Safety before you go.