Did you know skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer? In fact, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the United States than all other cancers combined. Every year in May, we recognize Skin Cancer Awareness Month. It’s an opportunity to raise awareness about this prevalent disease and boost funding for potentially life-saving research. In this blog, we’ll highlight some key skin cancer statistics, signs & symptoms, and helpful resources you can share with your social networks to help the cause.
ABOUT SKIN CANCER
Skin cancer comes in a variety of forms. If you’re diagnosed with skin cancer, it’s important to understand which type you have because the treatment options and prognosis can vary. According to the American Cancer Society, the five main types are:
- Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinoma
- Merkel Cell Carcinoma
- Kaposi Sarcoma
- 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
- An estimated 3.6 million cases of basal cell carcinoma are diagnosed in the U.S. each year
- Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma
- 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99% when detected early
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Basal/Squamous cell carcinoma, along with melanoma, have the most noticeable signs and symptoms.
Basal cell carcinoma
- Pearly or waxy bump
- Flat, flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesion
- Bleeding or scabbing sore that heals and returns
Squamous cell carcinoma
- Firm, red nodule
- Flat lesion with scaly, crusted surface
- Large brownish spot with darker speckles
- Mole that changes in color, size, or feel, or that bleeds
- Small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, pink, white, blue, or blue-black
- Painful lesion that itches or burns
- Dark lesions on your palms, soles, fingertips, toes, or mucous membranes lining your mouth, nose, vagina, or anus
SKIN CANCER TREATMENT
Skin cancer treatment options vary based on the specific skin cancer diagnosis. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are several standard treatments, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, photodynamic therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and others. If you are diagnosed with skin cancer, it’s important to understand all your options. When doing your research, consult your physician and seek a second opinion to make sure you are able to make a well-informed decision.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The Skin Cancer Foundation has put together a comprehensive toolkit to help you spread the word during Skin Cancer Awareness Month and all year long. The kit has graphics to share and answers to many skin cancer FAQs.
If you are a cancer survivor, share your story using the hashtag #ThisIsSkinCancer. Post some compelling stats with the tag #SharetheFacts. You can also encourage self-exams by checking your own skin, snapping a selfie, and sharing it with the hashtag #SkinCheckChallenge.