What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is a disease that involves the growth of abnormal cells in your skin tissues. Normally, as skin cells grow old and die, new cells form to replace them. When this process doesn’t work as it should — like after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun — cells grow more quickly. These cells may be noncancerous (benign), which don’t spread or cause harm. Or they may be cancerous.
Skin cancer can spread to nearby tissue or other areas in your body if it’s not caught early. Fortunately, if skin cancer is identified and treated in early stages, most are cured. So, it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider if you think you have any signs of skin cancer.
Types of skin cancer
There are three main types of skin cancer:
- Basal cell carcinoma, which forms in your basal cells in the lower part of your epidermis (the outside layer of your skin).
- Squamous cell carcinoma, which forms in your squamous cells in the outside layer of your skin.
- Melanoma, which forms in cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes produce melanin, a brown pigment that gives your skin its color and protects against some of the sun’s damaging UV rays. This is the most serious type of skin cancer because it can spread to other areas of your body.
Other types of skin cancer include:
- Kaposi sarcoma.
- Merkel cell carcinoma.
- Sebaceous gland carcinoma.
- Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans.
How common is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in the U.S. In fact, about 1 in 5 people develop skin cancer at some point in their life.
Symptoms and Causes
What are the signs and symptoms of skin cancer?
The most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change on your skin — typically a new growth or a change in an existing growth or mole. Skin cancer symptoms include:
- A new mole. Or a mole that changes in size, shape or color, or that bleeds.
- A pearly or waxy bump on your face, ears or neck.
- A flat, pink/red- or brown-colored patch or bump.
- Areas on your skin that look like scars.
- Sores that look crusty, have a depression in the middle or bleed often.
- A wound or sore that won’t heal, or that heals but comes back again.
- A rough, scaly lesion that might itch, bleed and become crusty.
What does skin cancer look like?
Skin cancer looks different depending on what type of skin cancer you have. Thinking of the ABCDE rule tells you what signs to watch for:
- Asymmetry: Irregular shape.
- Border: Blurry or irregularly shaped edges.
- Color: Mole with more than one color.
- Diameter: Larger than a pencil eraser (6 millimeters).
- Evolution: Enlarging, changing in shape, color or size. (This is the most important sign.)
If you’re worried about a mole or another skin lesion, make an appointment and show it to your healthcare provider. They’ll check your skin and may ask you to see a dermatologist and have the lesion further evaluated.
What causes the condition?
The main cause of skin cancer is overexposure to sunlight, especially when you have sunburn and blistering. UV rays from the sun damage DNA in your skin, causing abnormal cells to form. These abnormal cells rapidly divide in a disorganized way, forming a mass of cancer cells.
What are the risk factors for skin cancer?
Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of race or sex. But some groups get it more than others. Before the age of 50, skin cancer is more common in women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB). After 50, though, it’s more common in men and people assigned male at birth (AMAB). And it’s about 30 times more common in non-Hispanic white people than non-Hispanic Black people or people of Asian/Pacific Islander descent. Unfortunately, skin cancer is often diagnosed in later stages for people with darker skin tones. This makes it more difficult to treat.
Although anyone can develop skin cancer, you’re at increased risk if you:
- Spend a considerable amount of time working or playing in the sun.
- Get easily sunburned or have a history of sunburns.
- Live in a sunny or high-altitude climate.
- Tan or use tanning beds.
- Have light-colored eyes, blond or red hair and fair or freckled skin.
- Have many moles or irregularly shaped moles.
- Have actinic keratosis (precancerous skin growths that are rough, scaly, dark pink-to-brown patches).
- Have a family history of skin cancer.
- Have had an organ transplant.
- Take medications that suppress or weaken your immune system.
- Have been exposed to UV light therapy for treating skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.
Diagnosis and Tests
How is skin cancer diagnosed?
First, a dermatologist may ask you if you’ve noticed changes in any existing moles, freckles or other skin spots, or if you’ve noticed any new skin growths. Next, they’ll examine all of your skin, including your scalp, ears, palms of your hands, soles of your feet, between your toes, around your genitals and between your buttocks.
What tests will be done to diagnose skin cancer?
If your provider suspects skin cancer, they may perform a biopsy. In a biopsy, a sample of tissue is removed and sent to a laboratory where a pathologist examines it under a microscope. Your dermatologist will tell you if your skin lesion is skin cancer, what type you have and discuss treatment options.
What are skin cancer stages?
Cancer stages tell you how much cancer is in your body. The stages of skin cancer range from stage 0 to stage IV. In general, the higher the number, the more cancer has spread and the harder it is to treat. But the staging for melanoma is different from non-melanoma skin cancers that start in your basal or squamous cells.
- Stage 0 (melanoma in situ): The melanoma is only in the top layer of your skin.
- Stage I: The melanoma is low risk and there’s no evidence that it has spread. It’s generally curable with surgery.
- Stage II: It has some features that indicate that it’s likely to come back (recur), but there’s no evidence of spread.
- Stage III: The melanoma has spread to nearby lymph nodes or nearby skin.
- Stage IV: The melanoma has spread to more distant lymph nodes or skin, or has spread to internal organs.
- Stage 0: Cancer is only in the top layer of your skin.
- Stage I (1): Cancer is in the top and middle layers of your skin.
- Stage II (2): Cancer is in the top and middle layers of your skin and moves to target your nerves or deeper layers of skin.
- Stage III (3): Cancer has spread beyond your skin to your lymph nodes.
- Stage IIIV (4): Cancer has spread to other parts of your body and your organs like your liver, lungs or brain.
Management and Treatment
How is skin cancer treated?
Treatment depends on the stage of cancer. Sometimes, a biopsy alone can remove all the cancer tissue if it’s small and limited to the surface of your skin. Other common skin cancer treatments, used alone or in combination, include:
- Cryotherapy: Your dermatologist uses liquid nitrogen to freeze skin cancer. The dead cells slough off after treatment.
- Excisional surgery: Your dermatologist removes the tumor and some surrounding healthy skin to be sure all the cancer is gone.
- Mohs surgery: Your dermatologist removes only diseased tissue, saving as much surrounding normal tissue as possible. Providers use this to treat basal cell and squamous cell cancers and, sometimes, other skin cancers that develop near sensitive or cosmetically important areas, like your eyelids, ears, lips, forehead, scalp, fingers or genital area.
- Curettage and electrodesiccation: Your dermatologist uses an instrument with a sharp, looped edge to remove cancer cells as it scrapes across the tumor. Then, they use an electric needle to destroy any remaining cancer cells. Providers often use this to treat basal cell and squamous cell cancers and precancerous skin tumors.
- Chemotherapy: Your dermatologist or oncologist uses medications to kill cancer cells. Anticancer medications can be applied directly on the skin (topical chemotherapy) if limited to your skin’s top layer or provided through pills or an IV if the cancer has spread to other parts of your body.
- Immunotherapy: Your oncologist gives you medications to train your immune system to kill cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy: Your radiation oncologist uses radiation (strong beams of energy) to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing and dividing.
- Photodynamic therapy: Your dermatologist coats your skin with medication, which they activate with a blue or red fluorescent light. This therapy destroys precancerous cells while leaving normal cells alone.
Complications/side effects of the treatment
The side effects of skin cancer treatment depend on what treatments your healthcare provider think will work best for you. Chemotherapy for skin cancer can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and hair loss. Other side effects or complications of skin cancer treatment include:
- Pain and swelling.
- Nerve damage that results in loss of feeling.
- Skin infection.
- Regrowth of the tumor after it’s been removed.
Can skin cancer be prevented?
In most cases, skin cancer can be prevented. The best way to protect yourself is to avoid too much sunlight and sunburns. UV rays from the sun damage your skin, and over time, this may lead to skin cancer.
How can I lower my risk?
Ways to protect yourself from skin cancer include:
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a skin protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Broad-spectrum sunscreens protect against both UV-B and UV-A rays. Apply the sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outside. Wear sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days and during the winter months.
- Wear hats with wide brims to protect your face and ears.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect your arms and legs. Look for clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor label for extra protection.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Look for glasses that block both UV-B and UV-A rays.
- Use a lip balm with sunscreen.
- Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Avoid tanning beds. If you want a tanned look, use a spray-on tanning product.
- Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if any of the medications you take make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Some medications known to make your skin more sensitive to the sun include tetracycline and fluoroquinolone antibiotics, tricyclic antibiotics, the antifungal agent griseofulvin and statin cholesterol-lowering drugs.
- Regularly check all your skin for any changes in size, shape or color of skin growths or the development of new skin spots. Don’t forget to check your scalp, ears, the palms of your hands, soles of your feet, between your toes, your genital area and between your buttocks. Use mirrors and even take pictures to help identify changes in your skin over time. Make an appointment for a full-body skin exam with your dermatologist if you notice any changes in a mole or other skin spot.
Outlook / Prognosis
What is the outlook for people with skin cancer?
Nearly all skin cancers can be cured if they’re treated before they have a chance to spread. The earlier skin cancer is found and removed, the better your chance for a full recovery. It’s important to continue following up with your dermatologist to make sure cancer doesn’t come back. If something seems wrong, call your doctor right away.
Most skin cancer deaths are from melanoma. If you’re diagnosed with melanoma:
- The five-year survival rate is 99% if it’s detected before it spreads to your lymph nodes.
- The five-year survival rate is 66% if it has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
- The five-year survival rate is 27% if it has spread to distant lymph nodes and other organs.
When should I see my healthcare provider?
Make an appointment to see a healthcare provider or dermatologist as soon as you notice:
- Any changes to your skin or changes in the size, shape or color of existing moles or other skin lesions.
- The appearance of a new growth on your skin.
- A sore that doesn’t heal.
- Spots on your skin that are different from others.
- Any spots that change, itch or bleed.
Your provider will check your skin, take a biopsy (if needed), make a diagnosis and discuss treatment. Also, see a dermatologist annually for a full skin review.
What questions should I ask my healthcare provider?
Questions to ask your dermatologist may include:
- What type of skin cancer do I have?
- What stage is my skin cancer?
- What tests will I need?
- What’s the best treatment for my skin cancer?
- What are the side effects of that treatment?
- What are the potential complications of this cancer and the treatment for it?
- What outcome can I expect?
- Do I have an increased risk of additional skin cancers?
- How often should I be seen for follow-up checkups?
Frequently Asked Questions
How does skin cancer become a life-threatening cancer?
You may wonder how cancer on the surface of your skin becomes a life-threatening cancer. It seems logical to think you could just scrape off the skin with the cancer cells or even remove the cancerous skin lesion with a minor skin surgery and that’s all that would be needed. These techniques are successfully used if cancer is caught early.
But if skin cancer isn’t caught early, something that’s “just on my skin” can grow and spread beyond the immediate area. Cancer cells can break away and travel through your bloodstream or lymph system. They can settle in other areas of your body and begin to grow and develop into new tumors. This travel and spread is called metastasis.
The type of cancer cell where cancer first started — called primary cancer — determines the type of cancer. For example, if malignant melanoma metastasized to your lungs, the cancer would still be called malignant melanoma. This is how that superficial skin cancer can turn into life-threatening cancer.
Why does skin cancer occur in more non-sun-exposed body areas in people of color?
Scientists don’t fully know why people with darker skin tones develop cancer in non-sun-exposed areas like the palms of your hands and feet. They think that the sun is less of a factor, though. That said, dermatologists still see plenty of UV sunlight-induced melanomas and squamous cell skin cancer in people with skin tones ranging from fair to very dark.
Are all moles cancerous?
Most moles aren’t cancerous. Some moles are present at birth. Others develop up to about age 40. Most adults have between 10 and 40 moles.
In rare cases, a mole can turn into melanoma. If you have more than 50 moles, you have an increased chance of developing melanoma.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Skin cancer can happen to anyone. What may seem like an innocent cosmetic imperfection may not be. Performing regular skin self-checks is important for everyone. But it’s especially important if you have an increased risk of skin cancer.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body. And it needs as much attention as any other health concern. Check your skin every month for any changes in skin spots or any new skin growths. Take steps to protect your skin from the sun. And don’t forget to schedule regular skin checks with your dermatologist.
Do 1 in 5 people get skin cancer? ›
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. It is estimated that approximately 9,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day.What are the statistics of people with skin cancer? ›
1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. More than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour. Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma. When detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99 percent.What are 5 facts about skin cancer? ›
- 86% of skin melanoma cancer cases are preventable. ...
- 90% of people survive melanoma skin cancer for 10 years or more. ...
- 9 in 10 melanoma skin cancer cases are caused by the sun. ...
- 6 people die from melanoma skin cancer every day. ...
- Smoking can cause skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most common malignancy in the United States and represents ~ 35–45% of all neoplasms in Caucasians (Ridky, 2007), 4–5% in Hispanics, 2–4% in Asians, and 1–2% in Blacks (Halder and Bridgeman-Shah, 1995; Gloster and Neal, 2006).Do all people get skin cancer? ›
Some people are at higher risk of skin cancer than others, but anyone can get it. The most preventable cause of skin cancer is overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, either from the sun or from artificial sources like tanning beds. What Is Skin Cancer?Is everyone at risk for skin cancer? ›
People with lighter colored skin, blond or red hair, blue eyes, and freckles are at increased risk for developing skin cancer. People whose skin has a tendency to burn rather than tan also have an increased risk. However, all people, regardless of skin color, are at risk for developing skin cancer.What are the odds of getting cancer? ›
Age and Cancer Risk
The incidence rates for cancer overall climb steadily as age increases, from fewer than 25 cases per 100,000 people in age groups under age 20, to about 350 per 100,000 people among those aged 45–49, to more than 1,000 per 100,000 people in age groups 60 years and older.
almost all people (almost 100%) will survive their melanoma for 1 year or more after they are diagnosed. around 90 out of every 100 people (around 90%) will survive their melanoma for 5 years or more after diagnosis.Is skin cancer the most common in the US? ›
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Central cancer registries collect data on melanoma of the skin and nonepithelial skin cancers such as Merkel cell carcinoma.Who gets skin cancer the most? ›
Anyone can get skin cancer. It's more common among people with a light (fair) skin tone, but skin cancer can affect anyone. Skin cancer can affect both men and women. Even teenagers and, rarely, younger children can develop skin cancer.
Why is skin cancer so common? ›
Exposure to UV Radiation. Although genetic risk factors contribute to a person's skin cancer risk, most skin cancers are believed to be caused by a combination of genetic factors and exposure to UV radiation, from the sun and from artificial sources such as indoor tanning.What are 90% of skin cancers? ›
More than 90 percent of skin cancers are caused by sun exposure . Skin cancers are divided into two major groups: nonmelanoma and melanoma. Nonmelanoma skin cancers (usually basal cell and squamous cell) are the most common cancers of the skin.How many people of color get skin cancer? ›
Black people are far less likely to develop melanoma than non-Hispanic White people (at a rate of 1 per 100,000 compared to 30 per 100,000) due to the protection that melanin, the body's natural skin pigment, provides from damaging ultraviolet rays.How common is it for White people to get skin cancer? ›
Skin cancers are less prevalent in nonwhite racial ethnic groups, but when they occur, they tend to be diagnosed at a later stage and, as a result, have a worse prognosis. One study, for example, found an average five-year melanoma survival rate of only 67 percent in Black people versus 92 percent in white people.What age does skin cancer usually occur? ›
Most skin cancer cases are diagnosed in people older than 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Melanoma,the deadliest form of skin cancer, is most frequently diagnosed among adults ages 65-74.Why don t people in Africa get skin cancer? ›
However, compared with white skin, black skin has a higher amount of melanin. Higher amounts of melanin absorb or reflect more UV rays from the sun, helping to better protect skin cells from harm. This level of protection isn't present in white skin, making it more vulnerable to damage from UV rays.How many people don't know they have skin cancer? ›
Worrying lack of skin cancer awareness
Around 6% of people look at their skin for signs of skin cancer once a year, but the British Association of Dermatologists warns this is not enough. Over three quarters of people said they would not know how to recognise a developing melanoma skin cancer.
This is because they have less of the protective pigment called melanin. People with black skin are less likely to get skin cancer but can still get it. People with black skin are at risk of developing a type of melanoma skin cancer called acral lentiginous melanoma.What are the 7 warning signs of skin cancer? ›
- Changes in the appearance of a mole. ...
- Skin changes after a mole has been removed. ...
- Itchiness & oozing. ...
- A sore or spot that won't go away. ...
- Scaly patches. ...
- Vision problems. ...
- Changes in your fingernails or toenails.
Talk to your doctor if you notice changes in your skin such as a new growth, a sore that doesn't heal, a change in an old growth, or any of the A-B-C-D-Es of melanoma. A change in your skin is the most common sign of skin cancer. This could be a new growth, a sore that doesn't heal, or a change in a mole.
What are the two main causes of skin cancer? ›
What Causes Cancers of the Skin? The two main causes of skin cancer are the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays and using UV tanning beds. The good news is that if skin cancer is caught early, your dermatologist can treat it with little or no scarring and high odds of eliminating it entirely.Can you avoid cancer? ›
You can reduce your risk of getting cancer by making healthy choices like keeping a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco, limiting the amount of alcohol you drink, and protecting your skin.What percentage of Americans will get cancer? ›
The prevalence of cancer around the world
Prevalence of cancer ranges from approximately 5.5 percent of the population in the US down to around 0.4 percent in the countries shown in light yellow.
While it is less common than basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), this skin cancer is more dangerous because of its ability to spread to other organs more rapidly if it is not treated at an early stage. Learn more about melanoma types, risk factors, causes, warning signs and treatment.Can you ever get rid of skin cancer? ›
Nearly all skin cancers can be cured if they're treated before they have a chance to spread. The earlier skin cancer is found and removed, the better your chance for a full recovery. It's important to continue following up with your dermatologist to make sure cancer doesn't come back.Can you ignore skin cancer? ›
Brought on typically by overexposure of UV rays (via the sun or tanning beds), skin cancer can be prevented and oftentimes easily treated. However, if left untreated, no matter which type of skin cancer you have, it will undoubtedly cause severe health complications and may even lead to death.What state has the worst skin cancer? ›
Utah, Vermont and Minnesota have the highest rates of skin cancer. Texas, Alaska and New Mexico have the lowest rates of skin cancer.Where to live to avoid skin cancer? ›
Three of the top 5 cities for the fewest incidences of melanoma per capita were in Texas (El Paso, San Antonio, and Austin). Memphis, Tennessee, and Washington, DC, also have some of the fewest cases of melanoma.What state is number 1 for skin cancer? ›
Utah topped the chart for the highest rates of new skin melanomas, according to a CDC study run between 2015 and 2019. Over 40 people per 100,000 residents reported a new skin cancer in that time. Vermont, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Iowa rounded out the top 5 states.What country is skin cancer most common? ›
What country has the lowest rate of skin cancer? ›
Bangladesh had the fewest cases, followed by Iraq, Egypt, India and Pakistan. However, according to Abeck, “the index reveals that countries such as New Zealand and Australia, which have some of the highest incidences of skin cancer, also have some of the lowest death rates due to high levels of health expenditure.”Do Italians get skin cancer? ›
According to the Italian Cancer Society, there is an annual average incidence of 12.5 new skin Melanoma diagnoses per 100,000 males and 13.1 per 100,000 females . Incidence rates for skin Melanoma vary sensibly across Italy, with a decreasing trend moving from North to the South.What toxins cause skin cancer? ›
Chemical exposure: Certain chemicals, including arsenic, industrial tar, coal, paraffin and certain types of oil, may increase the risk for certain types of non-melanoma skin cancers.What are the rarest skin cancers? ›
Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare type of skin cancer that usually appears as a flesh-colored or bluish-red nodule, often on your face, head or neck. Merkel cell carcinoma is also called neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin.What skin cancers is the most serious? ›
Melanoma is often called "the most serious skin cancer" because it has a tendency to spread. Melanoma can develop within a mole that you already have on your skin or appear suddenly as a dark spot on the skin that looks different from the rest.What are 80% of skin cancers? ›
Basal cell carcinoma.
Basal cells are the round cells found in the lower epidermis. About 80% of skin cancers develop from this type of cell. These cancers are described as basal cell carcinomas. Basal cell carcinoma most often develops on the head and neck, although it can be found anywhere on the skin.
People of all colors, including those with brown and black skin, get skin cancer. Even if you never sunburn, you can get skin cancer. When skin cancer develops in people of color, it's often in a late stage when diagnosed.Does darker skin prevent skin cancer? ›
“People with dark skin may have the misconception that they are immune to skin cancer because their skin has more melanin – or pigment,” says Ana Ciurea, M.D. “While they are less likely to get skin cancer, they are still at risk.”What ethnicity has the highest cancer rate? ›
Black people are at the highest risk for cancer death even though White people have the highest rate of new cancers. This increased mortality risk partly reflects a later stage of disease at diagnosis among Black patients, although Black patients additionally have lower stage-specific survival for most cancer types.Does skin cancer hurt? ›
Some types of skin cancer spread along the nerves. If this happens, it can cause itching, pain, numbness, tingling, or a feeling like there are ants crawling under the skin. Other signs may include a lump or bump under the skin in areas such as the neck, armpit, or groin.
Does skin cancer run in families? ›
Melanoma can run in families. In fact, about one in every 10 patients diagnosed with melanoma has a family member with a history of the disease. If one or more close biological relatives – parents, brothers, sisters or children – had melanoma, you are at increased risk.
Melanoma accounts for about 1% of all skin cancers diagnosed in the United States, but it causes most of the deaths from skin cancer. It is estimated that 7,990 deaths (5,420 men and 2,570 women) from melanoma will occur in the United States in 2023.What does Stage 1 skin cancer look like? ›
Basal Cell Carcinoma Early Stages
In the beginning, a basal cell carcinoma resembles a small bump, similar to a flesh-colored mole or a pimple. The abnormal growths can also look dark, shiny pink, or scaly red in some cases.
Pronounced mor-fee-ic, this type of basal cell skin cancer may look like a sore area on the skin that doesn't heal. It might look skin coloured, waxy, like a scar or thickened area of skin that's very slowly getting bigger. You might also see small blood vessels.Are most skin cancers caught early? ›
Most skin cancer can be successfully treated if it is found early. But without treatment, skin cancer can be deadly.Do 50% of people get cancer? ›
In the US, 1 in 2 women and 1 in 3 men will develop cancer in their lifetime.What age group is most likely to get skin cancer? ›
[1-4] In contrast to most cancer types, melanoma skin cancer also occurs relatively frequently at younger ages. Age-specific incidence rates increase steadily from around age 20-24 and more steeply in males from around age 55-59. The highest rates are in in the 85 to 89 age group for females and males.Is it 1 in 3 that get cancer? ›
Cancer sometimes begins in one part of the body before spreading to other areas. This process is known as metastasis. 1 in 2 people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime.Can stress cause cancer? ›
Even when stress appears to be linked to cancer risk, the relationship could be indirect. For example, people under chronic stress may develop certain unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, overeating, becoming less active, or drinking alcohol, that are themselves associated with increased risks of some cancers.Who is least likely to get cancer? ›
Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native women have the lowest incidence rates. Even though white women are more likely to get breast cancer, black women are more likely to get more aggressive forms. They're also more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age.
What is the biggest cause of cancer? ›
The basic cause of sporadic (non-familial) cancers is DNA damage and genomic instability. A minority of cancers are due to inherited genetic mutations. Most cancers are related to environmental, lifestyle, or behavioral exposures.What percentage of skin cancers can be cured? ›
Nearly all skin cancers can be cured if they're treated before they have a chance to spread.How fatal is skin cancer? ›
Melanoma is usually curable when detected and treated early. Once it has spread deeper into the skin or other parts of the body, it becomes more difficult to treat and can be deadly. The estimated five-year survival rate for U.S. patients whose melanoma is detected early is about 99 percent.