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Skin Cancer

A man and woman wearing hats and sunglasses on a beach.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Most cases of melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.

To lower your skin cancer risk, protect your skin from the sun and avoid indoor tanning. CDC recommends these easy options—

  • Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs.
  • Wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Avoid indoor tanning.

Next: Basic Information



Featured Resources

Cover image of The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent Skin CancerDespite efforts to address risk factors, skin cancer rates have continued to increase. The The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer outlines actions everyone can take to reverse this alarming trend.

Cover image of The Call to Action consumer booklet This consumer booklet [PDF-821KB] lists the goals of The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer, describes how ultraviolet (UV) radiation causes skin cancer, and explains how everyone can help prevent this disease.

Photo of Dr. David EspeyIn this Medscape Expert Commentary video, CDC’s Dr. David Espey explains how medical professionals can help prevent skin cancer.

U.S. Skin Cancer Cases and Costs infographic The “U.S. Skin Cancer Cases and Costs” infographic [PDF-1.1MB] illustrates increases in the number of people treated for skin cancer and the cost of treatment between 2002 and 2011. Read the press release.

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