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Skin Cancer Facts & Statistics

What You Need to Know

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide.

  • 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.

  • More than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour.

  • Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma.

  • When detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99 percent.

There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to skin cancer, so make sure you know all the facts. You can #SharetheFacts on social media by downloading images from our Skin Cancer Awareness 2020 Toolkit. For the latest news, visit our Press Room.

  • General facts

  • Nonmelanoma skin cancer

  • Melanoma

  • Indoor tanning

  • Skin aging

  • Ethnicity

  • Pediatrics

General Facts

  • In the U.S., more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. More than two people die of the disease every hour.

  • More than 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer were treated in over 3.3 million people in the U.S. in 2012, the most recent year new statistics were available.

  • More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined.

  • At least one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.

  • Actinic keratosis is the most common precancer; it affects more than 58 million Americans.4

  • The annual cost of treating skin cancers in the U.S. is estimated at $8.1 billion: about $4.8 billion for nonmelanoma skin cancers and $3.3 billion for melanoma.

Nonmelanoma skin cancer

  • The diagnosis and treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancers in the U.S. increased by 77 percent between 1994 and 2014.

  • About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

  • Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer. An estimated 4.3 million cases of BCC are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.

  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. More than 1 million cases of SCC are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.

  • The latest figures suggest that more than 15,000 people die of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin in the U.S. each year9 — more than twice as many as from melanoma.

  • More than 5,400 people worldwide die of nonmelanoma skin cancer every month.

  • Organ transplant patients are approximately 100 times more likely than the general public to develop squamous cell carcinoma.

  • Regular daily use of an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent.

  • Incidence rates of Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of skin cancer, increased by 95 percent from 2000 to 2013.


  • It’s estimated that the number of new melanoma cases diagnosed in 2020 will increase by almost 2 percent. 

  • The number of melanoma deaths is expected to decrease by 5.3 percent in 2020. 

  • An estimated 196,060 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2020. Of those, 95,710 cases will be in situ (noninvasive), confined to the epidermis (the top layer of skin), and 100,350 cases will be invasive, penetrating the epidermis into the skin’s second layer (the dermis). Of the invasive cases, 60,190 will be men and 40,160 will be women.

  • In the past decade (2010 – 2020), the number of new invasive melanoma cases diagnosed annually increased by 47 percent.

  • An estimated 6,850 people will die of melanoma in 2020. Of those, 4,610 will be men and 2,240 will be women.

  • The vast majority of melanomas are caused by the sun. In fact, one UK study found that about 86 percent of melanomas can be attributed to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

  • Compared with stage I melanoma patients treated within 30 days of being biopsied, those treated 30 to 59 days after biopsy have a 5 percent higher risk of dying from the disease, and those treated more than 119 days after biopsy have a 41 percent higher risk.

  • Across all stages of melanoma, the average five-year survival rate in the U.S. is 92 percent. The estimated five-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early is about 99 percent. The survival rate falls to 65 percent when the disease reaches the lymph nodes and 25 percent when the disease metastasizes to distant organs.

  • Only 20 to 30 percent of melanomas are found in existing moles, while 70 to 80 percent arise on apparently normal skin.

  • On average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if they have had more than five sunburns,15 but just one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life.

  • Regular daily use of an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.

  • Melanoma accounts for 7 percent of new cancer cases in men, and 4 percent of new cancer cases in women.

  • Men age 49 and under have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer.

  • From ages 15 to 39, men are 55 percent more likely to die of melanoma than women in the same age group.

  • Women age 49 and under are more likely to develop melanoma than any other cancer except breast and thyroid cancers.

  • From age 50 on, significantly more men develop melanoma than women. The majority of people who develop melanoma are white men over age 55. But until age 49, significantly more non-Hispanic white women develop melanoma than white men (one in 156 women versus one in 228 men). Overall, one in 28 white men and one in 41 white women will develop melanoma in their lifetime.

Indoor Tanning

  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a proven human carcinogen.

  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an affiliate of the World Health Organization, includes ultraviolet (UV) tanning devices in its Group 1, a list of agents that are cancer-causing to humans. Group 1 also includes agents such as plutonium, cigarettes and solar UV radiation.19

  • Ultraviolet (UV) tanning devices were reclassified by the FDA from Class I (low risk) to Class II (moderate to high risk) devices as of September 2, 2014.

  • Indoor tanning devices can emit UV radiation in amounts 10 to 15 times higher than the sun at its peak intensity.

  • Eighteen states plus the District of Columbia prohibit people younger than 18 from using indoor tanning devices: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia. Oregon and Washington prohibit those under age 18 from using indoor tanning devices unless a prescription is provided.

  • Brazil and Australia have banned indoor tanning altogether. Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom have banned indoor tanning for people younger than age 18.

  • The cost of direct medical care for skin cancer cases attributable to indoor tanning is $343.1 million annually in the U.S.

  • More than 419,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year are linked to indoor tanning, including about 245,000 basal cell carcinomas, 168,000 squamous cell carcinomas and 6,200 melanomas.

  • More people develop skin cancer because of indoor tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking.

  • Those who have ever tanned indoors have a 83 percent increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma43 and a 29 percent increased risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.

  • Any history of indoor tanning increases the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma before age 40 by 69 percent.

  • Women who have ever tanned indoors are six times more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma in their 20s than those who have never tanned indoors. At all ages, the more women tan indoors, the higher their risk of developing melanoma.

  • One study observing 63 women diagnosed with melanoma before age 30 found that 61 of them (97 percent) had used tanning beds.

  • People who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent.

  • Indoor tanning among U.S. high school students decreased by 53 percent between 2009 and 2015.

Skin Aging

  • An estimated 90 percent of skin aging is caused by the sun.

  • People who use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher daily show 24 percent less skin aging than those who do not use sunscreen daily.

  • Sun damage is cumulative. Only about 23 percent of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18.



  • The estimated five-year melanoma survival rate for Black patients is only 70 percent, versus 94 percent for whites.

  • Skin cancer represents approximately 2 to 4 percent of all cancers in Asians.

  • Skin cancer represents 4 to 5 percent of all cancers in Hispanics.

  • Skin cancer represents 1 to 2 percent of all cancers in Blacks.

  • Melanomas in Blacks, Asians and native Hawaiians most often occur on nonexposed skin with less pigment, with up to 60 to 75 percent of tumors arising on the palms, soles, mucous membranes and nail regions.

  • In nonwhites, the plantar portion of the foot is often the most common site of skin cancer, being involved in 30 to 40 percent of cases.

  • Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer in Blacks.

  • Late-stage melanoma diagnoses are more prevalent among Hispanic and Black patients than non-Hispanic white patients; 52 percent of non-Hispanic Black patients and 26 percent of Hispanic patients receive an initial diagnosis of advanced-stage melanoma, versus 16 percent of non-Hispanic white patients.

  • People of color have higher percentages of acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM, melanoma of the palms, soles and nailbeds) than Caucasians, whereas superficial spreading melanoma is the most frequent subtype in Caucasians and Hispanics.


  • Melanoma in children and adolescents accounts for 1 to 4 percent of all melanomas and 3 percent of pediatric cancers.

  • Between 2005 and 2015, the melanoma incidence in 10 to 29-year-olds dropped about 4 percent per year among males and 4.5 percent per year among females. 

  • The treatment of childhood melanoma is often delayed due to misdiagnosis of pigmented lesions, which occurs up to 40 percent of the time.


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  2. Cancer Facts and Figures 2020. American Cancer Society. Accessed January 8, 2020.
  3. Stern, RS. Prevalence of a history of skin cancer in 2007: results of an incidence-based model. Arch Dermatol 2010; 146(3):279-282.
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Last updated: April 2020

Alabama Skin Cancer Facts

  • In the 2022 alone, the state of Alabama reported 1,480 new cases of melanoma of the skin.

  • There were also 110 reported deaths in 2022 from melanoma of the skin. 

Alabama Skin Cancer Data Map
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