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Why Skin Cancer Prevention Matters

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more new cases each year occurring than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer combined.

The majority of melanomas are thought to be caused from too much exposure to UV light, either from the sun or from artificial sources like tanning beds. Melanoma can develop anywhere on the body – eyes, scalp, nails, feet, mouth, etc. Pediatric melanoma is on the rise by about 2% each year, with 500 children diagnosed each year in the U.S.

Types of Skin Cancer

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. It begins in cells in the skin called melanocytes. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease. Other types of skin cancer are referred to as Non-melanoma. The most common are basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers. These cancers make up the overwhelming majority of skin cancer cases. They usually form on the head, face, neck, hands, and arms, but can occur in other places as well.

Risk Factors

What causes basal and squamous cell skin cancer? A risk factor is anything that affects a person’s chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, like smoking, can be controlled. Others, like a person’s age or family history, can’t be changed.

Having a risk factor or even many risk factors, does not mean that you will get the disease. Many people who get the disease may not have had any known risk factors. Even if a person with basal or squamous cell skin cancer has a risk factor, it is often very hard to know what part that risk factor may have played in getting the cancer.