Skin Cancer Facts

Skin cancer is a disease in which malignant, or cancerous, cells form in the tissues of the skin. Learn more ›

Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Melanoma is cancer of the cells that give skin its color. It develops when these cells change and reproduce aggressively. The number of cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is increasing faster than any other cancer.

Doctors aren't sure why melanoma rates are soaring. It could be from spending too much time in the sun during outdoor activities. It could also be due to global changes, such as the depletion of the ozone, which absorbs many of the sun's harmful rays.

Your pattern of sun exposure appears to affect your risk of developing melanoma more than the total amount of sun exposure in your lifetime. Short bursts of intense sun seem most dangerous, especially if you get sunburned. Being out in the sun can cause changes (mutations) in skin cells' genes. Researchers have recently found several gene mutations shared by many melanoma tumor cells. It is likely that one or more of these mutations starts the cancer.

Learn more about the symptoms of skin cancer

Treatment for Skin Cancer

Specific treatment for skin cancer will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history

  • extent of the disease

  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • expectations for the course of the disease

  • your opinion or preference

Learn more about treatment for skin cancer

Living with Skin Cancer

Everyone likes to have fun in the sun. But all that time soaking up the sun’s rays can come at a cost. The more your skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays, the higher your risk for skin cancer. So here are tips for you to stay safe in the sun—and still have fun.

If possible, avoid being in the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. That’s when the sun’s rays are the most harmful to your body.

Learn more ways to stay safe in the sun

Your Guide to Skin Cancer

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Did You Know?

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Melanoma is the most common type of skin cancer.

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