Skin Cancer

Skin damage adds up with each sunburn or tan and may one day result in skin cancer.

The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous carcinoma, and melanoma. About 90% of skin cancers are the result of too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation (rays) from either the sun or indoor tanning (tanning beds, tanning booths, and sunlamps).

The deadliest of the three types of cancer is melanoma. Melanoma is the eighth most common type of cancer among both men and women in NYS. For adults age 20 to 34 years, melanoma ranks among the top four cancers. Over the last 30 years, the number of cases of melanoma has increased.

melanoma melanomascar

The three most common types of skin cancer are curable if diagnosed at an early stage, and many skin cancers can be prevented by avoiding exposure to UV rays.

A few simple ways to avoid UV rays are to...

  • never indoor tan;
  • always use broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher on uncovered skin;
  • cover skin with long sleeves, long pants, wide brimmed hats, and sunglasses when possible;
  • stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.; and
  • use sun protection even on cloudy days and in winter months.

Some people are more at risk for skin cancer than others. People with light skin and blue eyes, people who sunburn or freckle easily, and people with a family history of skin cancer are at greater risk for skin cancer. In addition, men have more skin cancer than women due to working more outdoors.