May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Please join with the AACR to find better ways to prevent and treat skin cancer and melanoma

Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month

There are several different types of skin cancer, including melanoma, basal cell skin cancer, and squamous cell skin cancer. 

Nonmelanoma skin cancer is a very common cancer in the United States, with more than 5 million people diagnosed each year. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, which are nonmelanoma skin cancers, are the most common types of skin cancer. Nonmelanoma skin cancers rarely spread to other parts of the body. 

Melanoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer. It is more likely to invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body than the more common forms of skin cancer.

According to estimates made from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, 97,610 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma and about 7,990 people will die of the disease in 2023. 

Melanoma is more common in men than women and among individuals of fair complexion. Unusual moles, exposure to natural sunlight or artificial sunlight (such as from tanning beds) over long periods of time, and health history can affect the risk of melanoma.

In addition to the skin, melanoma may also occur in mucous membranes – thin, moist layers of tissue that cover surfaces such as the lips – or in the eye, which is called ocular or uveal melanoma.

One Person’s Story

Johnny Borgstrom of Cabin, Oklahoma, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of melanoma but became cancer-free after an investigational treatment with immunotherapeutics known as immune checkpoint inhibitors. Read his story in the AACR’s Cancer Progress Report 2022.

The latest on melanoma and skin cancer

Immunotherapy after surgery has come to be considered the standard of care for advanced melanoma. Now there’s research indicating that immunotherapy can be very beneficial when given before surgery, causing tumors to disappear in some cases. Read more in Cancer Today magazine: Consider Immunotherapy Before Surgery for Melanoma

Recent research in melanoma is highlighted in Cancer Research Catalyst, the AACR blog: “Look Who’s Talking: How Electrical Communication Drives Melanoma.”

What the AACR Is Currently Doing in Melanoma and Skin Cancer Research

The AACR was pleased to recognize several researchers for their work in the field of melanoma: 

  • 2022 AACR-Bristol Myers Squibb Midcareer Female Investigator Grant: Amanda W. Lund, PhD, New York University School of Medicine
  • 2022 AACR-Ocular Melanoma Foundation Career Development Award, in Honor of Robert C. Allen, MD: Shaheer Khan, DO, Columbia University Medical Center
  • 2020 AACR-The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research “Science of the Patient” (SOP) Grant: Liuqing Yang, PhD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
  • 2020 AACR Gertrude B. Elion Cancer Research Award: Kaysia Ludford, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

for more information

Please see our page on melanoma and skin cancer for more information on these diseases and their prevention, screening, and treatment.