Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than two million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year.

Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined numbers of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetimes.

The three most common types of skin cancer are:

To learn more about individual types of skin cancer, please click on their names on the list above.
More than 90% of all non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is associated with sun exposure, particularly ultraviolet (UV) radiation.  The numbers of non-melanoma skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma) have increased rapidly over the last 20 years, most likely due to higher levels of outdoor activities, leading to more sun exposure, even during the winter months. Indoor tanning beds are also a significant source of exposure to UV radiation.

The good news is that skin cancer is very treatable, especially if found early.  Prevention and early detection of skin cancer are key to its successful treatment and cure.  Periodic skin examinations by a dermatologist are instrumental in diagnosing skin cancer at its earliest stage, when it is most easily cured. 

A skin self-exam should be performed once a month at home.  The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Guide to Self Examination can be found here

It is also recommended that people without risk factors for skin cancer undergo a full-body skin cancer screening by a dermatologist once a year.  Those with significant risk factors may need more frequent exams.  For more information or to schedule your skin cancer screening examination, call us at Summit Medical Group at (908) 273-4300.

Factors that increase your risk of skin cancer

  • Fair skin
  • Light-colored hair
  • Light-colored eyes
  • Freckles
  • History of sunburns, especially before age 20.  Sunburns in adulthood are also a risk factor.
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Living in sunny or high-altitude areas, especially before age 18
  • Working outdoors
  • Many moles or abnormal moles
  • Precancerous skin lesions
  • Family history of skin cancer
  • Personal history of skin cancer
  • Weakened immune system
  • Increasing age
  • Exposure to certain chemicals

When all the risk factors for developing a non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) were analyzed, chronic UV exposure stands out as the primary causative factor in NMSC.  That means that the use of sunscreens and sun protective clothing and strict avoidance of sun exposure and tanning beds can be instrumental in preventing skin cancer.


    • Rogers HW, Weinstock MA, Harris AR, et al. Incidence estimate of nonmelanoma skin cancer in the United States, 2006. Arch Dermatol 2010; 146(3):283-287.
    • 2. American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2010. Accessed February 28, 2011.
    • The Skin Cancer Foundation Skin Cancer Facts.  Accessed February 28, 2011.
    • Robinson JK. Sun exposure, sun protection, and vitamin D. JAMA 2005; 294:1541-43.
    • Narayanan DL, Saladi RN, Fox JL. Ultraviolet radiation and skin cancer. Int J Dermatol 2010; 49(9):978-86.
    • Ricotti C, Bouzari N, Agadi A, Cockerell CJ. Malignant Skin Neoplasms. Med Clin N Am 2009;93:1241-1264
    • Ridky TW. Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer. JAAD 2007;57:484-501
    • Patel RV, Amylynne F, Goldenberg G. An update on Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol 2011;4(2):20-27.
    • Brodkin RH, Altman EM. Controlling malignant melanoma. A focus on pediatricians. Am J Dis Child 1993;147(8):875-81.

    Summit Medical Group is proud to provide medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology services to women and men in the Tri-State Area, New York and New Jersey, including the following counties and cities: Essex County, Morris County, Bergen County, Union County, Passaic County, Somerset County and Sussex County, NJ - Livingston, Millburn, Short Hills, West Orange, Berkley Heights, Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Cedar Knolls, Chatham, East Hanover, Englewood Cliffs, Essex Fells, Fair Lawn, Florham Park, Fort Lee, Glen Ridge, Jersey City, Kinnelon, Madison, Maplewood, Mendham, Montclair, Montvale, Morristown, New Providence, North Caldwell, Parsippany, Randolph, Roseland, South Orange, Springfield, Summit, Union, Verona, West Caldwell, Whippany and Westfield, NJ.

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Disclaimer: The information on this Web site is solely for to educate patients. It is not intended to be medical advice and, therefore, should not be considered a substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional. Communications to or from the Summit Medical Group Web site and any person will not be used to establish a relationship between a patient and doctor.