The basal cell carcinoma is the most common of all skin cancers,accounting for 80 percent of

non-melanoma skin cancers while the squamous cell carcinoma accounts for nearly 20 percent. 

And,non-melanoma skin cancers are more common in men with squamous cell carcinoma affecting

2 to 3 times as many men as women  while basal cell carcinoma occurs at a rate of 1 1/2 times of

men to women.

                 The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2019 an approximate 57,000 cases of

melanoma will be diagnosed in men and about 39,000 cases in women.And,the incidence of

melanoma is higher among men across most racial/ethnic populations.

                Since most cases of skin cancer link to sun exposure ,it naturally follows that the

incidence increases with age.And,the incidence of melanoma  increases after age 19 and peaks

for individuals older than 85. between 2011 and 2015 the median age for the diagnosis of melanoma

was 64.

               In addition, the incidence of specific types of skin cancer varies according to race and

ethnicity.Consequently, the risk is more than 20 times higher for the white population than for people

with darker skin such as black,American Indian/Alaskan natives,Hispanic and Asian/pacific islander populations.

And,this is due to the photoprotection provided by increased melanin in the epidermis(outer skin layer) 

of individuals with darker skin,which can filter twice as much  UV radiation as the epidermis of white 


              As is true for the white population,basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer  among

Hispanic and Asian populations . In contrast,squamous cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer

in the black population and melanoma is the third most common skin cancer  among all racial/ethnic


             And, the highest rate of melanoma is found amiong white men and the lowest is among black

women. Although melanoma is predominate among white men compared to white women,the incidence

of melanoma in men and women is similar in black,Hispanic, and Asian/pacific islander population.

            In addition to sun exposure and radiation exposure,the risk of skin cancer is also inluenced

by co-morbid or other conditions such as non-healing ulcers and tatoos as well as arsenic in the

well water . People whose immune systems are compromised either

by cancer or the drugs used to treat it are also at increased risk for skin cancer.

            Also, skin cancer can develop in 30 to 70 % of  organ transplant patients-with a 100 fold

increase for squamous cell carcinoma ,a 24 fold increase for a very dangerous type of skin cancer

called merkel cell carcinoma(please see my previous articles on merkel cell carcinoma),a six fold

increase for basal cell carcinoma and a two fold increased risk for melanoma.

Please see my previous article entitled: Skin Cancer-not just from the sun.

           In addition, the prevalence of skin cancers is also high among individuals infected witrh

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and lesions in this population tend to be more aggressive.

Also,  there is a high risk of squamous cell carcinoma  associated with seropositivity  for the

human papilloma virus (HPV)  type 16 and 18 but a direct causal relationship has not been


           Individuals with a history of skin cancer are at increased risk for another skin cancer and

people living in areas where the sun's rays are most intense such as the equator have an

increased risk for melanoma skin cancer.


          I saw a new patient in my office this week who came in for another problem but complied

with my request to take his shirt off when I promptly diagnosed a melanoma on his back.

         A few years ago I diagnosedf 6  patients with  melanomas in about 6 months.

        In conclusion, if you see a change in the size,shape,color or behavior of spots on your

skin,get checked by your healthcare provider.