25 Skin Cancer Facts that will Make You Never Forget to Wear Sunscreen Again

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, but it’s also the most preventable. Most skin cancer is caused by damage from the sun’s UV rays, which can largely be protected against through a combination of using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing and seeking the shade during peak sun hours. Below are 25 facts and stats collected from the Skin Cancer Foundation that will make you want to slop on sunblock, because of bonus fact No. 26: Regular daily use of SPF 30 or higher sunscreen blocks out 97% of the sun's rays, reducing the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma! 

3.3 million

The number of people treated for nonmelanoma skin cancer each year, but...

5.4 million

As many as 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancers are treated annually. Many of these cases could have been prevented with protection from the sun’s rays.

1 in 5

The number of Americans who will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.


Half the Americans who live to 65 will be diagnosed at least once with rarely fatal forms of skin cancer called basal and squamous cell carcinomas, both linked to sun exposure.

5.4 million

The number of cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer diagnosed in the US annually.


The total number of estimated melanoma deaths in 2019.

$8.1 billion

The total cost of treating skin cancers in the US. The cost breaks breaks down as follows: $4.8 billion for nonmelanoma skin cancers and $3.3 billion for melanoma.

69 percent

The percent of increased risk indoor tanners compared to non-indoor tanners have of developing early-onset basal cell carcinoma. Yet...

30 million

30 million people tan indoors in the United States each year - two to three million of which are teenagers. Young people, read on to the next fact.

78 percent

Protecting yourself from the sun during the first 18 years of life can reduce the risk of  some types of skin cancer by up to 78 percent.

40 years and older

The age in which most people, especially men, have the highest annual exposure to UV.


Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer for males and females. It is also the most deadly of all skin cancers.

57 minutes

One person dies of melanoma every hour. That equates to about 10,000 people a year.


An average person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns.

98 percent

The overall 5-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected in the localized stage, before the tumor has spread to the regional lymph nodes or other organs. 

84 percent

About 84 percent of melanomas are diagnosed at a localized stage.

15 minutes

The amount of time, three days a week, it is safe to expose face, arm and hands to the sun.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The time of day in which the sun’s rays are most intense. Limit direct exposure to the sun during this time. 

15 times

The number of times longer you can be in the sun without burning if you wear SPF 15 than if you did not wear sunscreen.

SPF 30 

The minimum recommended SPF (sun protection factor) for daily sun protection. Remember, the higher the SPF, the more protection against the harmful effects of UV radiation offered.

30 Minutes

Apply 2 tablespoons of sunscreen to unprotected skin at least 30 minutes before outdoor activities for maximum protection against the sun’s rays. 

2 hours

Reapply sunscreen every two hours after swimming, towel drying or sweating, or as the bottle instructs. 


The percent of UVA and UVB absorption your sunglasses should have to protect the eyes and surround skin from damaging effects.

1 year

The time that should pass between your annual skin exam visits with your physician. 

Having a professional skin check each year will increase likeliness of early skin cancer diagnoses and treatment.

10 Minutes

10 minutes is all it takes to complete your annual skin exam if you have never had atypical moles.

Why wait? Schedule your annual skin exam today by using our Find a Doctor tool, and visit John Stoddard Cancer Center online to learn more skin cancer facts and prevention tips.

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