May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

With 1 million cases of squamous cell skin cancer (SCSC) and 4.3 million cases of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) each year, it’s important now more than ever to engage in conversations about how to prevent and treat skin cancer early. SCSC and BCC are the most common types of nonmelanoma skin cancer, and case numbers are increasing each year due to increased UV radiation exposure from the sun as well as early detection efforts. Over 7000 people die from SCSC alone each year, which is comparable to death rates from kidney cancer, head and neck cancer, and melanoma. However, skin cancer is also very preventable, and with sun safety and early detection practices, you can learn how to keep your skin safe! Read more to learn about what you can do to prevent skin cancer and how you can raise awareness for others.

4.3 million

Approximate number of cases of BCC
diagnosed in the U.S. each year

Tips for Staying Safe in the Sun

Properly applying and reapplying sunscreen is one of the most important things you can do to keep skin cancer at bay. Make sure to follow these steps whenever you plan on being outdoors, even if it is just for a short time:

  • Always try to use SPF 30 or above and make sure to apply sunscreen generously. SPF 30 or above sunscreens block 97% of the sun’s UVB rays, but make sure to reapply often to keep your skin protected. Don’t forget tricky spots like your ears, back of your neck, feet, and the underside of your chin!
  • Seek shade to limit your exposure to the sun, especially from the hours of 10 am to 4 pm. If you can’t avoid the sun, wear protective clothing that prevents direct exposure to the sun.
  • Don’t try to get tan! A tan means damage has already occurred to your skin cells, and it does not provide protection from sunburns. Indoor tanning is just as harmful as outdoor tanning. Tanning beds increase your risk of skin cancer and are NOT a good source of vitamin D.
  • Pay attention to risk factors like light skin, moles, a history of previous cancers, older age, and immunosuppression. Having any of these risk factors significantly increases your risk of skin cancer, and you should be more careful about your exposure to the sun.

To read more about ways to stay safe in the sun, visit our sun safety information page here

1 million

Approximate number of cases of SCC
diagnosed in the U.S. each year

Catching Skin Cancer Early

Luckily, skin cancer is very treatable if caught early. Knowing how to perform skin self-examinations can help you to find suspicious spots on your body to be examined by a doctor. Early detection is key in avoiding the need for drug treatment later. Grab a standing mirror and a handheld mirror and follow these steps to perform a skin check on yourself today:

  • Examine your face, nose, lips, mouth, and ears—front and back.
  • Thoroughly inspect your scalp using a blow dryer and mirror to expose each section to view.
  • Check your hands carefully between fingers and under fingernails. Go all the way up your forearms.
  • Standing in front of a full-length mirror, scan your upper arms and underarms.
  • Focus on your neck, chest, torso and breasts while looking for suspicious spots.
  • Hold up a handheld mirror with your back to a full-length mirror to view the back of your neck, shoulders, and upper arms.
  • Scan your lower back, buttocks, and backs of both legs.
  • Also examine the genital and mucosal areas.

To view more detailed instructions, visit our early detection page here


The approximate number of people who die from
squamous cell skin cancer in the U.S. each year

Treating Advanced Skin Cancers

If you are living with skin cancer, our website provides many resources to improve the treatment and outcomes of skin cancer. Below are a few links to pages on our website to help you find the specialists you need, and answer any questions you have about treatment:

Spread the Word!

Share this information with others to increase awareness about skin cancer and keep those around you safe. Join us at our Facebook Page,, and Instagram,, to get updates about the latest news in skin cancer. We have live events coming up! Check out our events dropdown for upcoming webinars and live events.