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Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

What You Need To Know About™

Melanoma and Other Skin Cancers

  • Posted: 01/11/2011

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About This Booklet

This National Cancer Institute (NCI) booklet (NIH Publication No. 10-7625) is for people diagnosed with the most common types of skin cancer:

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Each year, more than 68,000 Americans are diagnosed with melanoma, and another 48,000 are diagnosed with an early form of the disease that involves only the top layer of skin. Also, more than 2 million people are treated for basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer each year. Basal cell skin cancer is several times more common than squamous cell skin cancer.

Learning about medical care for skin cancer can help you take an active part in making choices about your care. This booklet tells about:

  • Diagnosis and staging
  • Treatment
  • Follow-up care
  • How to prevent another skin cancer from forming
  • How to do a skin self-exam

This booklet has lists of questions that you may want to ask your doctor. Many people find it helpful to take a list of questions to a doctor visit. To help remember what your doctor says, you can take notes.

You may also want to have a family member or friend go with you when you talk with the doctor—to take notes, ask questions, or just listen.

This booklet does not describe rare types of skin cancer, such as Merkel cell carcinoma. Also, this booklet does not discuss melanoma that begins in the eye, the digestive tract, or other areas of the body. NCI's Cancer Information Service can provide information about rare skin cancers and melanoma that begins in areas other than the skin. Call 1–800–4–CANCER (1–800–422–6237) or chat with us online using LiveHelp (, NCI's instant messaging service.

This text may be reproduced or reused freely. Please credit the National Cancer Institute as the source. Any graphics may be owned by the artist or publisher who created them, and permission may be needed for their reuse.