Skin Cancer Cancer Facts & Figures in Brief

Find more statistics about melanoma on the Cancer Statistics Center:

  • Estimated new cases and deaths by sex and by state
  • Graphics showing historical trends in incidence rates (1975-2017) and death rates (1930-2018) by sex
  • Recent incidence rates (2013-2017) and death rates (2014-2018) by sex, by race and ethnicity, and by state
  • Probability of developing cancer (2015-2017) and dying from cancer (2015-2017)
  • 5-year survival rates (2010-2016) by stage at diagnosis

Use the analysis tool in the drop-down menu to see any of these statistics in comparison to other types of cancer.

Spotlight on ACS Research Publications

The American Cancer Society (ACS) employs a staff of full-time researchers and funds scientists across the United States who relentlessly search for answers to help us better understand cancer, including skin cancer. Here are some highlights of their work.

Learning How a Virus Causes a Rare, Aggressive Skin Cancer May Help Lead to New Treatments

“As a dermatologist, I see patients with viral skin infections, like warts, all the time, but these warts almost never result in dangerous cancers. By studying why some viral infections will develop into cancers, while others do not, I hope to identify pathways in immune cells that can be targeted to treat these cancers and give a better understanding of cancer development in general.”­—Richard Wang, MD, PhD

See the highlight about Dr. Wang's published study.


Potential New Drug for Melanoma Destroys, Rather than Inhibits, Cancer-Causing Proteins

"To develop a new drug to treat melanoma, we’re investigating “the use of a new technology developed in my lab that approaches drug development in a different way. Instead of the traditional pharmaceutical paradigm that focuses on blocking the function of a disease-causing protein, our new approach focuses on enlisting the cell's own quality-control machinery to eliminate the rogue protein. By hijacking the cellular processes that normally remove proteins, we can simply make disease-causing proteins 'go away'.”—Craig Crews, PhD

See the highlight about Dr. Crews' published study.


How Microbes on Your Skin May Affect the Risk and Progression of Cancer 

“My question was, ‘Is there a skin microbiome skin cancer link?’ So, taken all together our hypothesis that these skin microbes that can increase inflammation in the skin can increase the rate and severity of SCC [squamous cell carcinoma]. Our corollary hypothesis is that the absence of microbes. . . . will change the rate and recurrence of tumor progression. And really the translational impact here is that modifying the skin microbiome may allow us to modify the risk or the severity of, or onset of, this very common skin cancer.”—Julia Oh, PhD

Listen to the podcast with Dr. Oh.
Also see: Microorganisms on Your Skin May Relate to Skin Cancer Risk


Study Finds that Melanoma Cells Can Quickly Adapt to Resist Anti-Cancer Drugs

While much of the field of cancer biology has focused on how genetic mutations drive drug resistance, the signaling plasticity involved in non-genetic drug resistance is only now beginning to be appreciated.”Sabrina Spencer, PhD

See the highlight about Dr. Spencer's published studies.


ACS Cancer Prevention Studies

Studying Skin Cancer Causes and Prevention

The Cancer Prevention and Survivorship team in the American Cancer Society’s Population Science Department:

  • Analyzes data about the link between lifestyle and skin cancer on an ongoing basis through the Cancer Prevention Study II (CPS-II). It began in 1982 and tracks about 1.2 million American men and women from all 50 states.
  • Conducts Cancer Prevention Study 3 (CPS-3) to better understand ways to prevent cancer, including skin cancer. It started in 2013 and includes over 304,000 American men and women from all over the US and Puerto Rico.

Extramural Discovery Grants in Skin Cancer

The American Cancer Society funds scientists who conduct research about cancer at medical schools, universities, research institutes, and hospitals throughout the US. We use a rigorous and independent peer review process to select the most innovative research projects proposals to fund. 

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Total Skin Cancer Grants in Effect as of August 1, 2021

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Total Skin Cancer Grant Funding in Effect as of August 1, 2021

ACS Skin Cancer Research News