How common is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting mankind with over 4 million cases annually in the United States alone. One in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime.  In fact, the number of diagnosed skin cancers each year is greater than the annual incidence of all other forms of cancer combined. It is recommended that you have annual skin examinations to catch skin cancer at its earliest stage.


What are the most common types of skin cancer?

Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer. Both of these types of tumor usually cause local tissue destruction from growths and rarely spread to distant areas. If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, we recommend treatment at the earliest opportunity as well as routine skin surveillance.


Is skin cancer treatable?

Most skin cancers are highly treatable. Generally speaking, the earlier you can detect and diagnose skin cancer, the better. Basal Cell Carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer, is typically treated with local excision.  However, all types of skin cancer can grow and be disfiguring if left untreated for long periods of time. Tumors that are more aggressive or on cosmetically sensitive areas can be treated with a technical tissue sparing microscopic technique called ‘Mohs Micrographic Surgery’ .  Mohs surgery preserves more tissue than any other technique, has the lowest recurrence rate and the highest cure rate. If you have a new lesion, one that is changing, or a suspicious skin lesion then please get a skin examination by your dermatologist right away!


Can skin cancer be prevented?

Some people are genetically predisposed to skin cancer due to their heritage and others are more prone due to their skin type, immune status, chronic inflammation, burn scars, or medications.  However the vast majority of skin cancers are caused by the sun which transmits ultraviolet radiation which damages our skin cells. This damage may ultimately lead to skin cancer and can be prevented.



  • Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs.
  • Wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Avoid indoor tanning.


For more information on skin cancer please access the following:

American Academy of Dermatology

American Cancer Society