Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed in the United States each year. Melanoma, a more dangerous type of skin cancer, will account for more than 73,000 cases if skin cancer in 2015. It is also the most preventable and, if caught early, most treatable. Yet 13,000 Americans still die of skin cancer every year.
Skin cancer begins in the cells in the tissues of the skin. As the body needs them, normal cells grow and divide to form new cells. When these cells grow old or are damaged, they usually die and new cells take their place. However, sometimes this process goes wrong. New cells form when the body doesn’t need them and the old and/or damaged cells don’t die as they should. The buildup of the extra cells form a mass of tissue referred to as a growth or tumor. The growths on the skin can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancer).
There are many types of skin cancer, with melanoma being the most serious and deadly form. While melanoma accounts for only 3 percent of skin cancer cases, it’s responsible for more than 75 percent of skin cancer deaths. The good news is that if melanoma is detected early, before the cancer has penetrated the skin, the five-year survival rate is 99 percent. But the survival rate falls to 15 percent for people when the cancer has already spread.
Skin cancer is serious. Skin cancer screenings and regular self-exams can find abnormal skin spots before they become serious or even fatal.
One in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. Could you be one of them? Find out now.
A skin cancer screening is quick, easy and painless.