Skin Cancer (Non-Melanoma): Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2019

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people who are diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer each year. You will read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. Because non-melanoma skin cancer/keratinocyte carcinoma is so common and often curable, statistics are estimated. This is because individual cases are not usually reported to cancer registries.

It is estimated that more than 3 million people in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancers each year. Basal cell carcinoma is far more common than squamous cell carcinoma. About 80% of non-melanoma skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma.

About 2,000 people die from basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer each year. Most of these deaths, which have been declining in recent years, occur in older adults. About 7,230 people die from melanoma each year. For other, less common types of skin cancer, about 4,420 people die every year.

Approximately 2,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with Merkel cell cancer each year. This number has been rising rapidly the last few decades. A significant majority of people diagnosed with the disease are older than 70, and 90% of Merkel cell cancer diagnoses occur in white people. Men are twice as likely to be diagnosed with the disease than women. The 10-year survival rate of people with Merkel cell cancer is about 57%. It is much higher if the cancer is found early, before it has spread to the lymph nodes or distant parts of the body. Lymph nodes are tiny, bean-shaped organs that help fight infection.

It is important to remember that statistics for non-melanoma skin cancers are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of people with non-melanoma skin cancer in the United States. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's (ACS) publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2019, and the ACS website (January 2019).

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by non-melanoma skin cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.