Skin Cancer Facts
MELANOMA & SKIN CANCER FACTS
- Melanoma is a very serious and potentially deadly form of skin cancer that begins in the melanocyte cells of the skin – the cells that give the skin colour.
- In 2018, approximately 7,446 (4,080 males and 3,366 females) Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma and it is estimated that there will be 1270 deaths.
- It is one of the few cancers with incidence rates on the rise, climbing by over 2% annually since 1986. While frequently diagnosed in people over 40 years of age, it is one of the most common cancer types found in young adults aged 15-29.
- Melanoma can affect anyone regardless of sex, age or race
- The leading cause of the most common form of melanoma (cutaneous melanoma) is overexposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun or artificial sources (such as tanning beds, sunlamps) .
- Exposed human skin can tan or burn – both are signs of damage to the underlying cells. A burn, in particular, is a marker of extensive damage that normal DNA repair mechanisms may not be able to repair. Sunburn at any age is an indicator of UVR overexposure (generally intermittent exposure) and increases the risk of skin cancer, particularly of melanoma.
- There is an increased risk of melanoma associated with the number of sunburns throughout life time-periods (childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and lifetime) but higher risks associated with sunburns and exposure before the age of 20.  Early exposure to tanning beds can increase a person’s chance of developing melanoma by up to 75%.  Among those who first used a sunbed before age 35, the risk of melanoma is increased by 59%.
- The survival rate for melanoma is high if it is detected early and unlike many cancers, melanoma is often clearly visible on the skin.
 Canadian Cancer Society’s Advisory. Committee on Cancer Statistics. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2017. Toronto, ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2017.Available at: https://goo.gl/T5Wx3y Accessed on November 5, 2018. Note: original stats have been adjusted by 2% to reflect estimated increase for 2018.
 Canadian Cancer Society’s Advisory. Committee on Cancer Statistics. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014. Toronto, ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2014. Available at: http://www.cancer.ca/~/media/cancer.ca/CW/cancer%20information/cancer%20101/Canadian%20cancer%20statistics/Canadian-Cancer-Statistics-2014-EN.pdf. Accessed on November 5, 2018.
 Canadian Cancer Society’s Advisory. Committee on Cancer Statistics. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2017. Toronto, ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2017.Available at: https://goo.gl/T5Wx3y Accessed on November 5, 2018.
 World Health Organization (WHO); Available at: https://www.who.int/uv/sun_protection/en/
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 Gandini S, Sera F, Cattaruzza MS, et al. Meta-analysis of risk factors for cutaneous melanoma: II. Sun exposure. Eur J Cancer. 2005;41(1):45-60. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2004.10.016.
 International Agency for Research on Cancer Working Group on artificial ultraviolet l, skin c. The association of use of sunbeds with cutaneous malignant melanoma and other skin cancers: A systematic review. Int J Cancer 2007;120(5):1116-22.
 Zhang M, Qureshi AA, Geller AC, Frazier L, Hunter DJ, Han J. Use of tanning beds and incidence of skin cancer. J Clin Oncol 2012;30(14):1588-93.
 Boniol M, Autier P, Boyle P, Gandini S. Cutaneous melanoma attributable to sunbed use: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 12;345:e4757.