FROM THE DIVISION OF CANCER PREVENTION AND CONTROL
2006 / 2007
Skin Cancer Prevention
and Education Initiative
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides leadership for nationwide efforts to reduce illness and death
caused by skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the United States. The message of CDC’s Skin Cancer Primary
Prevention and Education Initiative is clear: When in the sun, seek shade, cover up, get a hat, wear sunglasses, and use sunscreen.
The Burden of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the
United States. The two most common types of skin
cancer—basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas—are
highly curable. However, melanoma, the third most
common skin cancer, is more dangerous, especially
among young people (2). Approximately, 65%-90%
of melanomas are caused by exposure to ultraviolet
(UV) light or sunlight (2).
The following statistics refer to new cases of—and
deaths from—melanomas of the skin and other non-
epithelial skin cancers. These statistics do not include
data for basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas,
which are not tracked by the United States Cancer
In 2002 (1),*
* Incidence counts cover approximately 93% of the U.S. population. Death counts cover
100% of the U.S. population. Use caution in comparing incidence and death counts.
• 48,249 people in the United States were diagnosed
with skin cancer, 27,268 of them men and 20,981
of them women.
• 45,193 white people and 3,056 non-white people
in the United States were diagnosed with skin
That same year (1),
• 9,904 people in the United States died of skin
cancer, 6,371 of them men and 3,533 of them
• 9,569 white people and 335 non-white people in
the United States died of skin cancer.
Epidemiologic data suggest that skin cancers can be
prevented if children, adolescents, and adults are
protected from UV radiation (2, 4).
People with certain risk factors are more likely than
others to deve