Approximately one in five people will
develop skin cancer in their lifetime


What are Skin Cancers?

Skin Cancer is a disease in which a group of Skin Cells begins dividing uncontrollably due to a series of mutations and genetic defects, thus resulting in cancerous tumors. All Skin Cancers can be grouped into several primary categories. For the sake of education, we will simplify these categories into three main groups: Melanoma, Basal Cell Cardinoma, and Squamous Cell Carinoma. Basal Cell Cardinoma and Squamous Cell Carinoma have many similarities, and as such are sometimes referred to as non-melanoma skin cancers.

Skin Cancer is extraordinarily far-reaching in its impacts in that it is the most common of all currently existing cancers. In fact, Skin Cancer accounts for nearly half of all cancer cases in the United States. Because these numbers are so inclusive, everyone is potentially at risk for the development of Skin Cancer. That said, there do exist several external factors that can result in a higher risk for contracting this terrible disease. These include: A family history of Skin Cancer, pale skin, unprotected exposure, and a weakened immune system.

Let us now take a closer look at each varient of Skin Cancer in an attempt to better grasp their significance. Below is a chart that demonstrates the percentages of deaths within Skin Cancer that result from its most deadly varient: Melanoma. Keep in mind that Melanoma accounts for less than 2 percent of all currently diagnosed Skin Cancers, a shocking figure when one considers the number of deaths that they cause. Simply put, while the other forms of Skin Cancer certainly warrant further research, it is Melanoma that claims the vast majority of lives in regards to Skin Cancers.

Deaths from Melanoma Skin Cancers
Deaths from Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers


Melanoma is a form of cancer that begins in the Melanocytes, the portion of the skin responsible for producing Melanin and controlling skin color. While Melanoma is the most rare form of Skin Cancer, accounting for less than 2 percent of all cases diagnosed per year, it is also the most deadly. Although it can almost always be cured if caught in its earlier stages, the aggressive nature of the disease ensures that this window of corrective opportunity remains very small.

The issue of Melanoma is a pressing one, especially when once considers that diagnosal rates of this terrible disease have been steadily increasing in the United States for over 30 years. In fact, there are currently over 960,000 people living with Melanoma Skin Cancer in the United States right now. Additionally worth noting is that while Melanoma can occur in both younger and older people, the risk of contracting this disease increase with age.

One major difficulty with achieving an early treatement of Melanoma is the degree to which it can remain dormant for long periods of time. One way that this can happen is in the form of a skin mole. While the vast majority of moles will never turn into anything harmful, some still do, and it is this casual gap that researches are trying to close in the hopes that it will save lives through the early discovery of this disease.

Basal Cell Cardinoma

Basal Cell Cardinoma is a form of Skin Cancer in which an uncontrolled growth develops in the skin's basal cells. It is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Thankfully, Basal Cell Cardinomas are nearly always a relatively unaggressive form of Skin Cancer and typically do not spread beyond the original tumor site. However, Basal Cell Cardinoma Skin Cancer that is left untreated can result in severe disfigurement.

Despite a steady increase in occurance in the United States over the past decade and a half, less than 1 percent of Basal Cell Cardinoma Skin Cancers prove to be fatal. The slow-moving nature of the cancer often affords doctors the opportunity to apply a wide variety of treatment techniques, which usually result in the elimination of the disease before it can inflict serious damage on the patient.

Squamous Cell Carinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma is a form of Skin Cancer in which abnormal cells begin arising in the skin's upper layers. They are the second most common form of Skin Cancer, accounting for nearly 20 percent of all non-Melanoma Skin Cancers.

They are relatively easy to detect due to the scaly red patches and open sores that the disease often creates. This, in combination with the slow-moving nature of the cancer, means that less than 1 percent of all those afflicted will eventually die as a result of their disease. However, some progress still must be made in terms of preventing the diseaes in the first place, as the occurance of Squamous Cell Carinoma has gone up a whopping 200 percent in the past three decades in the United States.

Advancements in Treatment

Recent technological developments have proven to be incredibly effective in terms of bettering our understanding of Skin Cancers. However, we still have a long way to go before this terrible disease can accurately be considered a non-issue. In adherance to this idea, we will highlight some of the successes that have been made in the field over the past few years in an effort to underscore the tremendous advancements that are saving lives and striking the issue of Skin Cancer at its source. The graph below depicts the rate of increase of occurance for Melanoma that has been observed in the past couple of decades.

Occurance Of Malignant Melanoma Per 100,000 people

Why are occurance rates going up?

Much of this increase can be explained by the simple fact that our population is aging. Because the risk of contracting a form of Skin Cancer increases with age, a larger portion of our population is susceptible to the disease, thus explaining the increase in occurance rates. As can be seen below, steps are being taken to mitigate this risk through the use of advanced technologies and an increase understanding of how to avoid contracting Skin Cancer in the first place.

Treatement by Drugs

The aggressive nature of Melanoma Skin Cancer means that the likelihood of it responding positively to chemotherapy treatements is often quite low. While it can sometimes shrink tumors by as much as 15 percent, this is usually not enough to improve the survival rate of the patient as a whole. Thankfully, the emergence of new drugs such as Vemurafenib and Ipilimumab have the potential to transform Skin Cancer treatements as we know them, giving hope to patients that have otherwise exhausted all other options.

There exists within about 50 percent of Melanomas a gene called BRAF that assists in cell growth. A Phase III clinical trial analyzed the impact of Vemurafenib targeting the BRAF gene and the resulting effect that this had on overall survival rates. What they found was extraordinary, with a 63 percent increase in overall survival rates in patients whose cancer was otheriwse untreated and considered inoperable.

A seperate Phase III clinical trial combined Ipilimumab with traditional chemotherapy treatements to isolate the effect that the drug had on the survival rates of Skin Cancer patients. The results were extremely encouraging, with a whopping 8.6 percent increase in three-year survival rates when compared to those that did not recieve Ipilimumab. The impact of this study becomes even more significant when one considers that the trial included over 500 patients with Melanoma that could not be surgically removed, thus presenting them with life-saving options that did not exist in years past.

Treatment by Prevention

It has been discovered that nearly all cases of Skin Cancer can be prevented long before they become life threatening. This is due to the visible nature of the disease, as it often makes itself present in the form of visible sores and harsh rashes. It is for this reason that there has been a recent movement to promote public education regarding these terrible cancers, as increased awareness will undoubtably save lives as people learn to check themselves for signs of Skin Cancer and take steps to prevent themselves from ever contracting it in the first place.

Physicians have recently developed a simple system that will hopefully aid in the early detection of Melanoma, the deadliest form of Skin Cancer. Called the ABCDE system, it involves the self-examination of moles for visible features that are consistent with what one would find in a case of Melanoma. This allows people to sort the normal from the irregular, and will hopefully assist in the protection of people against the threat of developing Skin Cancers.

Additionally, the increased understanding of the causes of Skin Cancer has afforded people the opportunity to take steps to prevent themselves from contracting Skin Cancer in the first place. For instance, the discovery of the role of UV rays in the development of Skin Cancer has prompted a movement to educate people on the harms of these rays, and the reasonable steps that they can take to avoid them.

How to Help

Skin Cancer is the most commonly occuring disease in the world today, and its occurance is on the rise. In order to combat this rising problem, additional research and exposure is necessary. Thankfully, there exist organizations willing to tackle the towering issue at its core, inspiring hope for those who need it the most. All of the options outlined below are fantastic ways to join them in their fight.

The Skin Cancer Foundation

Founded over 35 years ago, The Skin Cancer Foundation is currently the only international organization whose sole focus is improving the prevention and treatment of Skin Cancer. They are responsible for the distribution of millions of medically-reviewed pamphlets, posters, books, and newsletters annually, all of which contribute greatly to the goal of educating the public about the dangers of Skin Cancer.

The Skin Cancer Foundation has also been responsible for donating over 1.5 million dollars to over 150 boundary-pushing research projects. And as 90 percent of all funds are directed to the services that they provide, those who donate can rest assured that their money will be used to its full potential to fight Skin Cancers.

The importance of this life-saving foundation cannot be overstated. Every dollar directed towards The Skin Cancer Foundation advances the fight against Skin Cancer, and serves to provide hope to the thousands that struggle with this terrible disease every day. You can join them in their fight by clicking on the button below to donate.


The American Skin Association

The American Skin Association has spent the past two decades fighting against Skin Cancers through the application of research grants and public outreach programs. They seek to make sure that everyone, regardless of race, age, or social status, has the opportunity to recieve education regarding the dangers of skin diseases and what can be done to prevent them.

Their active approach in combating these deadly diseases has led them to donate over 7.9 million dollars in advanced dermatological reasearch, something that they argue is "the key to earlier diagnosis, less invasive therapies and, in time, prevention and cure." This money has supported the work of 150 investigators, something which ensures that a broad range of research in regards to Skin Cancer is achieved.

They also boast an impressive degree of financial transparency, with audited financial statements and IRS Form 990 filings dated back as far as 2006 publically avaliable. Additionally, they provide a detailed expenses breakdown which enables all those who donate to scrutinize where their money is actually going. You can help them further their mission to defeat Skin Cancers by clicking the button to donate below.


Fight At No Cost

With recent advancements in online communications, it is now possible to join the fight against Skin Cancers without spending a single penny. This is the power of word of mouth, the power of sharing our thoughts and ideas to make a change. You can click on the buttons below to get started. Spread the word!

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