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Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Skin cancers are divided into two groups: nonmelanoma and melanomas of the skin. Nonmelanoma skin cancer includes basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, the most common forms of skin cancer. Both are considered highly treatable. Melanomas of the skin are less common but more likely to spread to other parts of the body if left untreated, making them more serious forms of skin cancer.

General Statistics

Leading Cause of Death

  • Melanomas of the skin are the 19th leading cause of cancer deaths in Illinois
  • In Illinois, melanomas of the skin incidence and mortality rates are higher in males than females
  • In Illinois, melanomas of the skin incidence and mortality rates are highest in White populations

New Diagnoses (Incidence)

  • In the United States, the incidence of melanomas of the skin has increased from 20.0 per 100,000 in 2008 to 22.7 per 100,000 in 2017
  • In Illinois, the incidence of melanomas of the skin has increased from 17.9 per 100,000 in 2008 to 22.7 per 100,000 in 2017
  • In 2017, there were a total of 85,686 new cases of melanomas of the skin in the United States and a total of 3,288 new cases of melanomas of the skin cases Illinois
  • Between 2013 and 2017, melanomas of the skin were the seventh most commonly diagnosed cancer in Illinois

Deaths (Mortality)

  • In the United States, mortality from melanomas of the skin has decreased from 2.7 per 100,000 in 2008 to 2.1 per 100,000 in 2017
  • In Illinois, mortality from melanomas of the skin has decreased from 2.3 per 100,000 in 2008 to 2.0 per 100,000 in 2017
  • In 2017, there were a total of 8,056 deaths from melanoma in the United States and a total of 300 deaths from melanoma in Illinois

Risk Factors

Risk factors for skin cancer include:

  • Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from natural or artificial sunlight
  • Fair complexion
    • Light-colored skin
    • Freckling
    • Blue or green eyes
    • Blond or red hair
  • Moles
  • Personal history of skin cancer
  • Family history of skin cancer
  • Older age
  • Exposure to arsenic
  • Radiation treatment
  • Weakened immune system

Prevention and Early Detection

Skin cancer is not preventable, but certain factors can lower your risk:

  • Limit exposure to UV radiation
    • Avoid being in the sun for long periods of time
    • Avoid being in the sun in the middle of the day when UV radiation is most intense
    • Wear sun-protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses
    • Use sunscreen:
      • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher
      • Put on all exposed skin 30 minutes before going out
      • Reapply every two hours or after swimming, sweating, and toweling off
    • Avoid artificial sunlight such as sun lamps, tanning beds, or tanning salons
  • Examine skin regularly
  • Teach children to protect themselves from the sun

Currently, there is insufficient evidence to determine the balance of benefits and harms of visual examination by a health care provider to screen for skin cancer in adults.

Melanomas of the Skin Measures for Illinois

Cancer Measure Baseline (per 100,000) (2017) Target (per 100,000) (2025)

Incidence rate

22.7 28.2

Mortality rate

2.0 1.8

Melanomas of the Skin Incidence and Mortality by Race and Ethnicity in Illinois (2017)

Race/Ethnicity Male and Female Incidence (per 100,000) Male and Female Mortality (per 100,000)

All Races (includes Hispanic)

22.7 2.0

White (includes Hispanic)

27.0 2.4

Black (Includes Hispanic)

Data not available Data not available

Hispanic

5.5 Data not available

Asian/Pacific Islander

Data not available Data not available

American Indian/Alaska Native

Data not available Data not available
Race/Ethnicity Male Incidence (per 100,000) Female Incidence (per 100,000) Male Mortality (per 100,000) Female Mortality (per 100,000)

All Races

28.2 18.7 2.9 1.4

White

32.9 22.7 3.4 1.7

Black

0.8 0.7 Data not available Data not available

White Non-Hispanic

Data not available Data not available 3.7 1.8

Hispanic (any race)

Data not available Data not available Data not available Data not available

Asian/Other Races

2.1 1.3 Data not available Data not available

Other Races

Data not available Data not available Data not available Data not available

Melanomas of the Skin - 20 Counties with Highest Incidence in Illinois (2013-2017)

Overall State Incidence

20.4

County Incidence (per 100,000)

Piatt

51.4

Ford

45.4

De Witt

43.3

Woodford

36.8

McLean

35.0

Hamilton

35.0

Mercer

35.0

Douglas

34.4

Pike

33.2

Marion

31.9

Adams

31.6

Bureau

31.5

Lee

31.4

Williamson

30.7

Ogle

30.4

Coles

29.7

Iroquois

29.7

Livingston

29.7

Champaign

29.6

Franklin

29.3

Hancock

29.3