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Last Updated: 09/21/21


Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The three major types of skin cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, the highly curable basal cell carcinoma, and the more serious malignant melanoma. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas are by far the most common and are estimated to occur in 3.3 million individuals in the United States with approximately 80% of these cases being basal cell carcinoma. For melanoma, over 106,110 individuals in the United States will be diagnosed with the disease in 2021, with an estimated 7,180 deaths. Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays appears to be the most important environmental factor involved in the development of skin cancer. Currently, projects in the Skin SPORE program are focused predominantly on melanoma; however, Skin SPORE projects may also include other skin cancer types, such as cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.