American Cancer Society // Infographics // 2013 // 04
Skin cancer is the most common of all cancer types. More than 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed each year in the United States. That’s more than all other cancers combined. Skin cancer rates have been on the rise over the past few decades. The good news is that you can do a lot to protect yourself and your family from skin cancer.
Skin Cancer is the Most Common of All Cancer Types
New Cancer Cases in the U.S. this Year
- Skin Cancer (non-melanoma): 3,500,000
- Prostate Cancer: 238,590
- Breast Cancer: 234,580
- Lung Cancer: 228,190
- Colorectal Cancer: 142,820
There are 3.5 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosed in 2.2 million people with some patients having more than one diagnosis.
Skin cancer cases don’t just outweigh prostate, breast, lung and colorectal cancers – they outweigh all cancers combined!
Most Skin Cancers are Caused by the Sun’s UVA and UVB Ultraviolet (UV) Rays
UVA rays pierce the skin’s surface and travel through the epidermis and deep into the dermis, which can cause:
- Dark patches
- Loose skin
- Premature aging
- DNA damage
UVB rays pierce the skin’s surface and travel into the epidermis, which can cause:
- Eye problems
- DNA damage
Both UVA and UVB rays cause DNA damage, which greatly increases skin cancer risk.
Anyone Can Get Skin Cancer
Be extra careful if you:
- Have natural blonde or red hair
- Have freckles
- Are fair skinned
- Spend a lot of time outdoors
- Have had skin cancer before
- Live in or travel to hot climates or high altitudes
- Take medications that make you sensitive to light
- Have had a lot of sunburns and burn before tanning
- Have a condition that lowers your immune system
- Have a family history of skin cancer, especially melanoma
- Have a lot of moles, or large or irregularly shaped moles (see cancer.org/moles)
Protecting Yourself is Vital
One hour in the sun wearing SPF 30 is the same as two minutes with no protection.
Sunscreen: What to Look For
- Broad Spectrum – protects against both UVA and UVB rays
- SPF 30…at least!
- Water Resistant – 40 minutes of total protection
- Expiration Date – Sunscreen can expire, so check the date
Sunscreen: How and Where to Apply
- Be generous! One ounce (about a palmful) should be used to cover the arms, legs, neck and face.
- Don’t forget your ears, hands, feet and underarms.
- Reapply at least every two hours. Apply more often if you’re in and out of water or sweating.
Other Ways to Protect Yourself
In addition to sunscreen, don’t forget to:
- Seek shade, especially from 10am – 4pm
- Cover up with clothing
- Ditch tanning beds or lamps
- Wear sunglasses
- Wear a hat
- Cover up the kiddies, too!
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Source for Sunscreen Labeling Information:
FDA Consumer Health Information – FDA Sheds Light on Sunscreens
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