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May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month

What You Need to Know About Skin Cancer Awareness


Updated May 25, 2006

May starts National Skin Cancer/Melanoma Awareness Month campaign. Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, with over one million people diagnosed each year!

Fast Facts About Skin Cancer

  • Skin cancer and melanoma account for about 50% of all types of cancers diagnosed combined.
  • Skin cancer is one of the more preventable types of cancer.
  • More than 90% of skin cancer is causes by excessive exposure to the sun.
  • Each hour, 1 person dies from skin cancer.
See "8 Shocking Facts About Skin Cancer" for more statistics and facts about melanoma and skin cancer.

Skin Cancer and Melanoma Basics

Skin cancer is divided into two categories: melanoma and non-melanoma. Melanoma is a dangerous form of skin cancer. Although serious, non-melanomas are much less life threatening and easier to treat.

Melanoma accounts for 4% od skin cancer cases diagnosed. It is estimated that 62,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2006. Almost 8,000 are expected to die of melanoma this year.

There are two common types of non-melanoma skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Symptoms of Skin Cancer

  • A small lump (spot or mole) that is shiny, waxy, pale in color, and smooth in texture.
  • A red lump (spot or mole) that is firm
  • A sore or spot that bleeds or become crusty. Also look for sores that don't heal.
  • Rough and scaly patches on the skin.
  • Flat scaly areas of the skin that are red or brown.
  • Any new growth that is suspicious

If you suspect that a lump, spot, or mole may be suspicious of skin cancer, see your doctor. When detected early, it is highly treatable.

Suggested Reading:

The Causes of Skin Cancer

Unprotected exposure to the sun's UV rays are the culprit of most cases of skin cancer. Genetics also can play a role in skin cancer development.

Suggested Reading:

How to Find Out if You Have Skin Cancer

It is recommended that each person examine their skin monthly for skin abnormalities. Learning the ABC's of skin cancer can help you to identify areas of the skin that may be cancerous.

It is also recommended that people have a clinical skin exam every year by a health care professional.

Suggested Reading:
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Cancer
  4. Types of Cancer N-Z
  5. Skin Cancer/Melanoma
  6. May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month

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