Melanoma Monday aims for awareness on rising rates of skin cancer

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer and it can be extremely dangerous.

More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined, and 1 in 5 people will develop it by age 70.

An estimated 4.3 million cases of basal cell carcinoma, the most common form, are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.

The second most common form is squamous cell carcinoma. The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates there are more than 1 million cases diagnosed each year.

But squamous cell is more threatening, reaching deeper into the skin, resulting in more than 15,000 deaths a year.

Melanoma is the most dangerous form. It can appear on the skin surface, invade the lower layers of skin, or appear in internal organs.

Former President Jimmy Carter is a prime example of the latter. His melanoma was discovered on his liver and had spread to his brain.

He was declared cancer-free in 2015 after surgery and treatment with Keytruda, an immunotherapy drug.

CLICK HERE to find a free SPOTme skin cancer screening, from the American Academy of Dermatology.

Although the vast majority of melanomas are caused by the sun (86% according to one study), they don't always appear on areas of the body where we get sunburns or overexposure to the sun.

One common spot is the back of the leg or knee.

And while it is important to keep watch on moles for pre-cancerous changes, only 20%-30% of melanomas are found in existing moles. Neatly 80% appear on normal skin.

Melanoma is causing rising concern among doctors, because the number of new cases diagnosed every year jumped 54% over the past decade.

More than 7,200 people are expected to die of melanoma this year and men will outnumber women by nearly 2 to 1.

An estimated 7,230 people will die of melanoma in 2019. Of those, 4,740 will be men and 2,490 will be women.
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