Each year more new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. The occurrence continues to rise. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
This may be due to common misconceptions that sunscreen lotions provide adequate protection and that tanning booths are harmless. Brazil and Australia have banned indoor tanning altogether, and many more don't allow it for people under 18.
But melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, is also the least common, Dr. Elizabeth Hale, senior vice president of the Foundation and board-certified dermatologist, says. All types are easily treatable if caught in advance. “Men have the highest mortality rate because they don’t get their skin checked often enough,” she adds.
Also, while 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, studies have shown that benign lesions have been the cause of a large increase in reported incidence of the disease.