Under Your Nose: 9 Surprising Skin Cancer Stats for Serious Sun Lovers


Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the sun, water and sand. You probably bought a sunscreen with the highest SPF you could find to ensure protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays. So, what else could go wrong?

You basked under the sun, enjoyed the rest of the day outside, and did not realize that you were slowly hurting your skin. If you are not too careful, you could be a candidate for skin cancer.

There is no assurance that you are safe from skin cancer. Here are some important things and surprising facts you should know about this serious, but preventable type of cancer.

Skin Cancer: Tips to Prevent It from Happening

Skin cancer is among the many types of cancer affecting people around the world. It is the most common form of cancer in the United States, a majority of which are because of the exposure to ultraviolet rays and lights.

There are the three most common types of skin cancer:

Basal Cell Cancer – This is non-melanoma type of cancer, which develops in sun-exposed areas, grows slowly, and rarely spreads to other parts of your body.

Squamous Cell Cancer – This is another type of non-melanoma cancer. It also develops in sun-exposed areas, but is more likely to grow in the deeper layers of the skin. There is also a higher chance of spreading in different parts of your body.

Melanoma – This is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, which causes the most deaths in the United States. It starts in the melanocytes and appears in any part of the skin, including areas that are not often exposed to the sun.

Other types of skin cancer, which are less common are skin lymphoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, sarcoma, skin adnexal tumors, and Kaposi sarcoma.

Sun exposure is the most common cause of any type of skin cancer. The ultraviolet radiation from the sun not only causes sunburn, it also changes your skin’s texture, damages your skin’s connective tissues, and causes your skin to age prematurely.

Aside from sun exposure, here are some other causes of skin cancer:

1. Ultraviolet Radiation

2. Tanning Booths

3. Sun Lamps

4. Family History

5. Over Exposure to Arsenic

6. Old Age

7. Race and Ethnicity

8. Radiation Treatment

9. Unusual Moles

Skin CancerSkin cancer does not usually cause any symptoms, until you notice a mole that changes in size or color, or becomes larger, or your skin starts to itch, bleed or hurt.
This is why it is important for you to know the difference between a harmless mole and melanoma.

This is where the ABCD rule comes in. To determine if a mole is normal or melanoma, take note of the following characteristics:

A for Asymmetry –One-half of the mole does not match its other half.

B for Border Irregularity – The edges of the mole are notched, ragged, or irregular.

C for Color – There are differences in the color of the mole. There are patches of brown, black, tan, red, white or blue in just one mole.

D for Diameter – The mole is wider by one-fourth of an inch compared to normal moles.

For the diameter of the mole, take note of the following:

Basal Cell Carcinoma Moles are Usually Flat, Pale and Firm. Large moles could also have crusted and oozing spots, while the smaller moles are shiny, pink or red in color, raised, and bleed after a minor injury.

Squamous Cell Cancer Looks Like Growing Lumps. They usually come with a rough surface. Flat, reddish patches that grow slowly could also appear on your skin.

Despite the danger of skin cancer, there are still many people who don’t take this condition seriously. Here are nine surprising skin cancer statistics you should know about.

9 Surprising Skin Cancer Stats for Serious Sun Lovers

1. Sun Exposure: The Perennial Cause of Skin Cancer

unprotected sun exposureYou already know that the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays are the number one cause for skin cancer. In fact, many people blame the sun for their skin conditions.

Here is the surprising part: Sun exposure accounts to more than 90 percent of skin cancer cases.

This means that regardless of the type of skin cancer you have, there is a higher possibility that prolonged and unprotected sun exposure is the cause behind it.

2. Skin Cancer: Affecting Thousands of People All Over the World

Skin cancer is common in the United States. Each year, there are more new cases of skin cancers reported compared to other types of cancers, such as breast, colon, lung and prostate cancer. Consequently, one person dies every hour of this condition, with 2,800 people dying from non-melanoma skin cancer, and 8,000 people for melanoma skin cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, 67,753 people were diagnosed with melanoma in 2012. Out of this number, 9,251 people died, wherein 6,013 were men and 3,238 were women. In the United Kingdom, there were 13,300 cases of malignant melanoma in 2011, or 37 people diagnosed per day.

These numbers only show that melanoma and skin cancer, in general, is a serious condition affecting millions of people around the world.

3. Color No More: Skin Cancer Rates Based on Ethnicity and Race

lighter skin tonesOne of the risk factors of skin cancer is race and ethnicity. Although skin cancer does not discriminate, there are races who are more at risk and where skin cancer is at its deadliest.

According to the 2012 data presented by the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, individuals who have lighter skin tones, or Caucasians have the highest rate of melanoma,compared to other races.

There are almost three million cases of skin cancer in men and close to two million in women. In fact, studies show that one in every five Americans will get the skin cancer diagnosis.

In particular order, the following races are also at risk of skin cancer:

A. Native American Indians

B. Alaskan Natives

C. Hispanics

D. Asians

E. Africans

The reason for this is melanin. Melanin protects the skin against premature aging and effects of sunlight. Consequently, dark skin has more epidermal melanin, which offers natural skin protection factor or SPF. The more melanin you have, the darker your skin and the greater protection you have against the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Caucasians have lighter skin tones, which means lesser melanin in the body. Hence, those with lighter skin tones are more at risk of skin cancer.

4. You’re Not Safe: Skin Cancer is More Deadly in Darker Skin Tones

People with darker skinPeople with darker skin are at lesser risk of developing skin cancer. This is because of the high amounts of melanin, which acts as a shield against the harmful UV rays.

However, this doesn’t mean that individuals with darker skin tones are safe from the disease.

According to a study from the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine, which was presented at the summer meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, darker skin toned individuals are less likely to develop skin cancer, but when they do, there is a higher chance of death.
The National Cancer Institute noted that the five-year survival rate for African-Americans is only 75 percent compared to 93 percent for Caucasians.

The research also noted that those with darker skin tone are eight times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, which occurs in the upper layer of the skin, usually on areas protected from the sun.

This shows that although unprotected sun exposure is the number one cause of skin cancer, UV radiation does not play an important role in the development of sqamous cell carcinoma.

5. Not Just For Women: Why Skin Cancer is Seen More Often in Men

Did you know that men are more at risk of skin cancer than women are? According to the American Cancer Society, men are twice more likely to develop skin cancer compared to women. In fact, skin cancer is more likely to happen than lung or prostate cancer.

Here’s why:

Men spend more hours under the sunA. Men spend more hours under the sun, whether working or playing outdoors, but are less likely to use sunscreen.

B. Men have less hair to cover their ears and scalp.

C. Men are less likely to visit dermatologists to check skin conditions.

D. Most men don’t follow the proper sun protection techniques.

E. For men, the use of sunscreen is too little, and re-application is seldom.

6. Sunburn Now, Suffer Later: The Importance of Protecting Children Against the Sun

Kids enjoy being outdoors and wouldn’t mind being baked under the sun. Unfortunately, five or more sunburns during one’s youth increases a child’s melanoma risk by 80 percent.

If your child is less than six months old, make sure never to expose them to the sun, except between seven to nine in the morning and after three in the afternoon, to minimize jaundice. If your child is above six months, make sure to keep them protected by applying sunscreen and making them wear sunglasses for eye protection.

In case your child develops a sunburn, here’s what you can do:

A. Keep your child hydrated at all times.

B. Bath your child in clear, tepid water to cool the skin.

C. Use light and gentle moisturizing lotion to soothe the skin.

D. Keep your child away from the sun until the sunburn heals.

E. Don’t use alcohol or medicated creams, such as hydrocortisone unless your child’s doctor says to do so.

F. If pain is an issue, contact your doctor about pain relievers to use.

7. It’s Not Always the Sun: Understanding the Dangers of Tanning Beds

You want to get a tan, but the weather is not cooperating. You’ve resorted to tanning beds because that is the closest thing you can get. Unfortunately, you are doing more harm than good to your skin because ultraviolet radiation is a human carcinogen.

According to a study published in the journal, JAMA Dermatology, the number of skin cancer cases from tanning beds is higher than lung cancer cases due to smoking. In the United States, there are 419,254 cases of skin cancer due to indoor tanning – 6,199 of which are melanoma cases.

In other words, opting for tanning beds, sun lamps, and other means of artificial, indoor tanning can make you 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma compared to those who never tried indoor tanners.

8. Protect Yourself Against This Deadly Skin Cancer: Melanoma

melanomaDid you know that one person dies of melanoma every hour? According to the American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 73,870 new cases of invasive melanoma, wherein almost 10,000 people could die.

Aside from these figures, here are other statistics you should know about melanoma:

A. Many skin cancer death cases are due to melanoma.

B. The incidence of melanoma is increasing by 1.9 percent every year.

C. One in every 50 men and women will be diagnosed with melanoma.

D. 86 percent of melanoma cases are due to ultraviolet radiation exposure from the sun.

E. Melanoma is among the top forms of cancer among people aged 15 to 29.

9. Age Doesn’t Matter: Skin Cancer Affects People of All Ages

Age is one of the risk factors of skin cancer. The older you are, the higher the risk. Apparently, that’s not the case these days. Even someone as young as 15 could develop skin cancer.

Statistics show that melanoma accounts for six percent of cancer cases among teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19. It is also the most common form of cancer among young adults between 25 and 29 years old. Men from the age of 15 to 39 account for 40 percent of melanoma cases, with 60 percent resulting in death. On the other hand, women below 39 years of age have a higher probability of developing melanoma compared to other types of cancer.

Protect Yourself Against Harmful UV Rays: Tips to Prevent Skin Cancer

Avoid Excessive Sun ExposureDespite the dangers of UV rays and the prevalence of skin cancer, there is plenty you can do to prevent it.
Skin cancer is preventable.Here are some simple, but effective ways to protect yourself against skin cancer:

Avoid Excessive Sun Exposure. Although tempting, don’t go outdoors for long periods. Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. is the time when UV radiation is the most intense. If you need to go out in the sunshine, early morning or late afternoon are the safest times to go out.

Watch Out for Other Sources of UV Radiation. Tanning beds, tanning booths and sun lamps are the main sources of UV radiation. If you can, avoid them at all costs. Otherwise, take note of the time limit to avoid damage on your skin.

Use Sunscreen When Going Outdoors. A sunscreen with at least a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 offers ample protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays. Make sure to put sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before going outdoors in the sun. Don’t forget to re-apply sunscreen after swimming, or at least every two hours.

Protect Your Skin With Clothing. A long-sleeved shirt, long pants and a wide-brimmed hat are your best choices when it comes to protecting your skin against the sunlight.

Don’t Forget to Wear Sunglasses. It is equally important to protect your eyes and the surrounding skin to minimize your cancer risks. Consider sunglasses with 100-percent UVA and UVB absorption for added protection against the sun’s UV rays.


Since skin cancer prevention has become so mainstream, the average survival rate of melanoma cases has increased from 49 percent to 91 percent. This shows that despite the danger of skin cancer and the intimidating statistics, there is something you can do to prevent this condition.

Aside from prevention, early diagnosis and treatment is your best defense against cancer. Print out these prevention tips and place them on your refrigerator to remind yourself of the many ways to avoid skin cancer.


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