Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer. At least 40 percent of all Americans who live to be 65 will be diagnosed with skin cancer at least once in their lives.
Fortunately, most skin cancers are not serious. The vast majority can be cured, usually by simple outpatient procedures performed in a doctor's office. But this does not mean that skin cancer is something that people do not need to take seriously. If skin cancer is not detected and treated promptly, it can spread. At the very least, this means that more extensive surgery, leading to greater scarring, will be needed. In the worst case, it can mean serious complications. Some types of skin cancer, especially melanoma, can be fatal.
This Web site was designed as a source of information on skin cancer for the general public. Topics covered here include statistics on skin cancer, descriptions of the most common types of skin cancer, how to prevent and detect skin cancer, and how doctors treat skin cancer, including new developments in treatment and complementary and alternative medicine approaches to treatment.
Since exposure to the sun and other sources of ultraviolet (UV) rays is a major risk factor for skin cancer, several pages on this website discuss ways of protecting yourself and your family from UV exposure. Other risk factors for skin cancer and population groups at special risk for skin cancer are also discussed.
Although some people - such as those with fair skin, those who live near the Equator where the sun's rays are strongest, and those with a family history of skin cancer - are at higher risk of developing skin cancer than others are, everyone needs to be aware of how to prevent and detect skin cancer. Skin cancer is a highly treatable disease; some experts say that 100% of all skin cancers could be completely cured if they were detected and treated before they had a chance to spread. So the more you know about skin cancer, the lower your chances of ever developing a skin cancer that spreads enough to constitute a serious medical problem.