How Common Is Melanoma
Melanoma accounts for only about 1% of all skin cancers, but causes the great majority of skin cancer-related deaths. Its one of the most common cancers in young people under 30, especially in young women.
Melanoma incidence has dramatically increased over the past 30 years. Its widely accepted that increasing levels of ultraviolet exposure are one of the main reasons for this rapid rise in the number of melanoma cases.
How Many Australians Get Cancer
Cancer is a common disease and a major health problem in Australia today. At current rates, it is expected one in two Australians will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.
An estimated 145,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia this year.
Cancer is a leading cause of death in Australia almost 55,000 deaths from cancer were estimated for 2019.
Compared to 1982, around 25,000 more people die each year from cancer. This is due mainly to population growth and ageing. However, the death rate has fallen by more than 24%.
More than 66% of people diagnosed with cancer in Australia will survive more than five years after diagnosis.
How To Diagnose Skin Cancer
First, a doctor will examine a personâs skin and take their medical history. They will usually ask the person when the mark first appeared, if its appearance has changed, if it is ever painful or itchy, and if it bleeds.
The doctor will also ask about the personâs family history and any other risk factors, such as lifetime sun exposure.
They may also check the rest of the body for other atypical moles and spots. Finally, they may feel the lymph nodes to determine whether or not they are enlarged.
The doctor may then refer a person to a skin doctor, or dermatologist. They may examine the mark with a dermatoscope, which is a handheld magnifying device, and take a small sample of skin, or a biopsy, and send it to a laboratory to check for signs of cancer.
Don’t Miss: Melanoma Bone Cancer Life Expectancy
Can Cancer Be Prevented
With our current knowledge, we believe that at least one in three cancer cases can be prevented. Smoking, sun exposure, poor diet, alcohol consumption and inadequate physical activity are significant risk factors, which can be modified.
Not smoking, or giving up, is the single most effective strategy to prevent cancer. One in nine cancer cases, and more than one in five cancer deaths are caused by cigarette smoking.
Protecting your skin from exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation is a simple and very effective strategy for preventing skin cancer. Around 12,000 Australian men and women are diagnosed with a melanoma each year, and an estimated 434,000 people are treated for one or more non-melanoma skin cancers. In 2016 there were nearly 2000 deaths from skin cancer in Australia, 1281 from melanoma and 679 from non-melanoma. Relative five-year survival rates for melanoma are 89% for men and 94% for women.
It is estimated that more than 4000 cancer deaths annually are due to poor diet, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and being overweight. Again, these are deaths that can be prevented. See our preventing cancer section for more information on how you can reduce your cancer risk.
Risk Factors For Cancers
Tobacco use, alcohol use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and air pollution are risk factors for cancer .
Some chronic infections are risk factors for cancer this is a particular issue in low- and middle-income countries. Approximately 13% of cancers diagnosed in 2018 globally were attributed to carcinogenic infections, including Helicobacter pylori, human papillomavirus , hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and Epstein-Barr virus .
Hepatitis B and C viruses and some types of HPV increase the risk for liver and cervical cancer, respectively. Infection with HIV substantially increases the risk of cancers such as cervical cancer.
You May Like: What Is Braf Testing In Melanoma
Twenty Most Common Causes Of Cancer Death
Lung cancer is by far the most common cause of cancer death in the UK, accounting for around a fifth of all cancer deaths in females and males combined . The next most common causes of cancer death in UK people are bowel , prostate, and breast cancers. Though there are more than 200 types of cancer, just these four types lung, bowel, prostate and breast together account for almost half of all cancer deaths in the UK . Two of these types occur mainly or exclusively in only one sex.
The 20 Most Common Causes of Cancer Deaths, UK, 2018
Data in this chart do not sum to the all cancers combined total provided elsewhere, because ‘Brain, other CNS and intracranial’ includes tumours that are malignant and non-malignant but only the malignant tumours are included in ‘all cancers combined’ total.
What Happens If Melanoma Is Left Untreated
Even though this form of skin cancer impacts a relatively low percentage of patients, melanoma skin cancers make up the majority of skin cancer deaths. Melanoma lesions often look like moles, freckles, or sunspots, and they may even develop within an existing mark on your body. Unlike other forms of skin cancer that are slow to progress and unlikely to spread to other areas, melanoma advances quickly and can form or spread anywhere on the body. In order to diagnose melanoma in the earliest stages, patients need to remember the ABCDEFs of melanoma, as discussed above.
Read Also: What Is Stage 2 Melanoma Skin Cancer
Can You Prevent Skin Cancer
According to Dr. Dorsey, Skin cancer is an extremely serious condition, but with proactive care, most cases can be avoided altogether. In fact, taking a few small steps to limit sun damage and conducting regular skin self-exams is all you need to do to keep your skin healthy. Because sun exposure is the main underlying cause of skin cancer, sun protection is essential to prevent this condition. Patients need to apply sunscreen every day and reapply at least every two hours during prolonged sun exposure. Whenever possible, limit or avoid time spent outdoors during peak sun hours between 10 am and 4 pm. If patients need to be outdoors during these times, its important to wear protective coverings, seek shade, and reapply sunscreen frequently.
In addition to daily sun protection steps, patients also need to perform self-exams at least every month. Early detection is key to providing effective skin cancer treatment, so regular self-exams are an essential part of keeping people healthy. Your Board Certified Dermatologist can walk you through a self-exam when you visit the office, but the basic process involves carefully examining your skin, from the top of your head to the bottoms of your feet , and noting any spots, lesions, bumps, discoloration, or other skin changes or irregularities. When you know where marks are on your skin, youll be more likely to notice if they are growing or changing in ways that are concerning or that indicate skin cancer.
How Is Melanoma Diagnosed
If you have a mole or other spot that looks suspicious, your doctor may remove it and look at it under the microscope to see if it contains cancer cells. This is called a biopsy.
After your doctor receives the skin biopsy results showing evidence of melanoma cells, the next step is to determine if the melanoma has spread. This is called staging. Once diagnosed, melanoma will be categorized based on several factors, such as how deeply it has spread and its appearance under the microscope. Tumor thickness is the most important characteristic in predicting outcomes.
Melanomas are grouped into the following stages:
- Stage 0 : The melanoma is only in the top layer of skin .
- Stage I: Low-risk primary melanoma with no evidence of spread. This stage is generally curable with surgery.
- Stage II: Features are present that indicate higher risk of recurrence, but there is no evidence of spread.
- Stage III: The melanoma has spread to nearby lymph nodes or nearby skin.
- Stage IV: The melanoma has spread to more distant lymph nodes or skin or has spread to internal organs.
Melanoma Skin Cancer Mortality
- There are around 2,300 melanoma skin cancer deaths in the UK every year, that’s more than 6 every day .
- Melanoma skin cancer is the 19th most common cause of cancer death in the UK, accounting for 1% of all cancer deaths .
- In females in the UK, melanoma skin cancer is the 18th most common cause of cancer death, with around 940 deaths in 2018.
- In males in the UK, melanoma skin cancer is the 17th most common cause of cancer death, with around 1,400 deaths in 2018.
- Mortality rates for melanoma skin cancer in the UK are highest in people aged 90+ .
- Each year almost half of all melanoma skin cancer deaths in the UK are in people aged 75 and over .
- Since the early 1970s, melanoma skin cancer mortality rates have increased by around two-and-a-half times in the UK. Rates in females have increased by around three-quarters , and rates in males have more than tripled .
- Over the last decade, melanoma skin cancer mortality rates have remained stable in the UK. Rates in females have remained stable, and rates in males have increased by almost a tenth .
- Mortality rates for melanoma skin are projected to fall by 15% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 4 deaths per 100,000 people by 2035.
- Melanoma skin cancer deaths are less common in males living in the most deprived areas.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
Make an appointment to see your healthcare provider or dermatologist as soon as you notice:
- Any changes to your skin or changes in the size, shape or color of existing moles or other skin lesions.
- The appearance of a new growth on your skin.
- A sore that doesnt heal.
- Spots on your skin that are different from others.
- Any spots that change, itch or bleed.
Your provider will check your skin, take a biopsy , make a diagnosis and discuss treatment. Also, see your dermatologist annually for a full skin review.
Read Also: Precursor To Skin Cancer
How The Government Of Canada Protects You
The Public Health Agency of Canada monitors cancer in Canada. PHAC identifies trends and risk factors for cancer, develops programs to reduce cancer risks, and researches to evaluate risks from the environment and human behaviours. Health Canada also promotes public awareness about sun safety and the harmful effects of UV rays.
What Is The Most Common Cancer In The United States
When it comes to the answers, let’s first look at why the difference between most common diagnosis and most common cause of death matters. It has to do with the reason for the question.
If you want to know if there’s anything you can do to lower your risk, the second question may be most important. If one cancer is more common but rarely causes death, and another is less common but often causes death, you may want to focus your efforts on the greater risk of death. That may mean directing your prevention efforts toward the less-common cancer.
You May Like: Mayo Clinic Pictures Of Skin Cancer
What Happens If Squamous Cell Carcinoma Is Left Untreated
Like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma is relatively common, slow-growing, and at low risk to metastasize in most cases. This form of skin cancer is also likely to develop on the areas of the body that are exposed to sunlight like the face, hands, neck, shoulders, and lower legs, especially for people who have a history of sunburns. Unlike the smooth appearance of basal cell carcinoma lesions, squamous cell carcinoma tumors often appear as rough, thickened, scaly patches of skin. The growths may appear wart-like or like a donut shape. Squamous cell carcinoma lesions may form sores and bleed often or develop into a large, thick, and firm mass. Squamous cell carcinoma typically impacts people over the age of 50. While the condition does spread slowly, the risk that squamous cell carcinoma will spread to other parts of the body is higher than that of basal cell carcinoma. Additionally, these have the potential to arise suddenly and grow rapidly in some cases.
What Is The Outlook For People With Skin Cancer
Nearly all skin cancers can be cured if they are treated before they have a chance to spread. The earlier skin cancer is found and removed, the better your chance for a full recovery. Ninety percent of those with basal cell skin cancer are cured. It is important to continue following up with a dermatologist to make sure cancer does not return. If something seems wrong, call your doctor right away.
Most skin cancer deaths are from melanoma. If you are diagnosed with melanoma:
- The five-year survival rate if its detected before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 99%.
- The five-year survival rate if it has spread to nearby lymph nodes is 66%.
- The five-year survival rate if it has spread to distant lymph nodes and other organs is 27%.
Highlights Of What You Will Find In The Canadian Cancer Statistics 2017 Annual Report:
The burden of cancer in Canada continues to rise
- In 2017, over 200,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer and 80,000 will die from cancer.
- During their lifetime, nearly 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer, and 1 in 4 will die from the disease.
- Lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers account for half of all cancers diagnosed in Canada.
- Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in males and breast cancer is the most common cancer in females.
- Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada.
- Over 25% of all cancer deaths in Canada are due to lung cancer.
Cancer is predominately seen in those 50 years of age and older
- The risk of cancer increases with age, particularly in Canadians 50 years of age and older.
- Nearly 90% of new cancer cases and 96% of cancer deaths occur among those aged 50 and over.
- The highest proportion of cancer deaths will occur in Canadians 80 years and older .
Cancer death rates declining in Canada
Incidence rates in some cancers still rising
- In recent years, the incidence rate of cancer in males has decreased by 1.7% per year while the incidence rate in females is slowly increasing at 0.4% per year.
- In particular, the incidence rates of thyroid cancer, liver cancer, and melanoma in males and females and uterine cancer in females have increased over 2% per year.
- The incidence rates of larynx cancer in males and females, prostate and stomach cancers in males and cervical cancer in females have decreased over 2% per year.
Why Does Skin Cancer Occur In More Non
Scientists dont fully know why people of skin with color develop cancer in non-sun-exposed areas, such as their hands and feet. They think that the sun is less of a factor though. However, dermatologists still see plenty of UV sunlight-induced melanomas and squamous cell skin cancer in people of color, in skin tones ranging from fair to very dark.
Recommended Reading: What Is Stage 2 Squamous Cell Carcinoma
How Is Skin Cancer Diagnosed
First, your dermatologist may ask you if you have noticed any changes in any existing moles, freckles or other skin spots or if youve noticed any new skin growths. Next, your dermatologist will examine all of your skin, including your scalp, ears, palms of your hands, soles of your feet, between your toes, around your genitals and between your buttocks.
If a skin lesion is suspicious, a biopsy may be performed. In a biopsy, a sample of tissue is removed and sent to a laboratory to be examined under a microscope by a pathologist. Your dermatologist will tell you if your skin lesion is skin cancer, what type you have and discuss treatment options.
How Is Cancer Treated
The type of cancer treatment or combination of treatments that a patient has depends on the type and stage of the cancer. The most common types of cancer treatment are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Some cancers can be cured if the tumour is detected and surgically removed before the cancer cells spread. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can also cure cancer, by killing cancer cells or stopping them from multiplying. Often these treatments are most effective when used together.
The main goal of treatment is to cure the disease, but if cure is not possible, different treatments may be used to control the cancer. New ways of treating cancer are always being developed and tested. In the future, we can expect to see a new range of ‘designer drugs’ that block the blood supply that tumours need to grow, correct the genetic defects that lead to cancer and assist the body’s immune system to fight cancer.
You May Like: How Fast Does Squamous Cell Carcinoma Spread
Uv Exposure And Overexposure
UV exposure stimulates melanocytes to produce melanin, often resulting in a tan or sunburn, both of which indicate overexposure and damage to the skin, skin cells, and DNA within those skin cells., The underlying biology of skin cancer risk is directly related to damage to the skin and its genetic material. Although all UV exposures can affect skin cancer risk, entirely avoiding UV rays from the sun is neither realistic nor advisable for most Americans. Spending time outdoors is associated with positive health benefits, such as increased levels of physical activity and improved mental health.-
Mortality Trends Over Time For Common Cancers
Mortality trends over the last decade in the UK vary by cancer type and sex. For most cancer types, mortality trends largely reflect changes in incidence and survival, e.g. increased incidence without sufficient survival improvement results in increased mortality.
Liver cancer has shown the fastest increase in mortality over the past decade in the UK for both females and males. Liver cancer mortality rates have increased by 49% in females and 45% in males over the past decade in the UK.
The second and third fastest-increasing causes of UK cancer death are uterine cancer and head and neck cancer for females, and small intestine cancer and head and neck cancer for males.
Stomach cancer has shown the fastest decrease in mortality over the past decade in the UK in females. Stomach cancer mortality rates have decreased by 31% in females over the past decade in the UK.
Cancer of unknown primary has shown the fastest decrease in mortality over the past decade in the UK in males. Cancer of unknown primary mortality rates have decreased by 35% in males over the past decade in the UK.
Pancreatic cancer and melanoma skin cancer are the only cancer types in which the mortality trend differs between the sexes . In females pancreatic cancer mortality has remained stable, while in males it has increased. In females melanoma skin cancer mortality has remained stable, while in males it has increased.