Skin cancer : preventing America’s most common cancer fact sheet 2002
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Skin cancer : preventing America’s most common cancer fact sheet 2002

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      Created: 4/11/02; modified: 1/14/10

      Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States — more than one million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in 2002. The incidence of malignant melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer, has more than doubled between 1973 and 1996. Melanoma is more common than any non-skin cancer among people between 25 and 29 years old. An estimated 7,400 deaths from melanoma and 2,200 from other skin cancers are expected in 2002. The three major types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas can cause substantial illness and, untreated, can cause considerable damage and disfigurement. A cure is highly likely, however, if detected and treated early. Malignant melanoma causes more than 75% of all deaths from skin cancer. This most serious form of skin cancer can spread to other parts of the body quickly. When detected in its earliest stages and treated properly, however, it is highly curable. For localized melanoma, the 5-year relative survival rate is 96%; survival rates for regional and distant stage diseases are 61% and 12%, respectively.

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