Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, affecting over 3.5 million people in the United States alone. The incidence of skin cancer is steadily increasing in frequency each year; although enhanced leisure time exposure to sunlight has been proposed as a cause, another factor may be an increase in skin cancer awareness through increased screening (Gloster 1996; Leiter 2008; ACS 2013a; Wiley 2012; Welch 2005).
The most prevalent skin cancers – melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma – can affect individuals at any age, although diagnoses are significantly more likely with advancing age; incidence rates of non-melanoma skin cancers increase considerably in the 50s and peak in the 70s and 80s (Kim 2012).
Fortunately, skin cancer is a disease in which the patient is significantly empowered to influence the outcome of their encounter with malignancy. Simply by being aware of changes in the surface of the skin, especially areas often exposed to sunlight, and reporting any abnormalities to a physician in a timely manner, patients can help facilitate early detection and treatment of skin cancer. The impact of skin self-examination can be extraordinary because favorable skin cancer outcomes are highly dependent upon early diagnosis and treatment of malignant changes in the skin (ACS 2013b).
Technological advances in treatment options have improved outcomes even for patients with aggressive skin cancer variants. Significant survival improvements have been achieved in trials of targeted therapies for aggressive melanomas, while surgical techniques for treatment of early-stage skin cancers are achieving unprecedented precision (Kudchadkar 2013; Johnson 2013; Ma 2014; Liu 2013; Kim 2012; Paoli 2011; Hui 2012).
By taking advantage of the latest innovations in skin cancer prevention, including avoiding excessive sun exposure and supporting skin health with scientifically studied nutrients like Polypodium leucotomos and tea polyphenols, skin cancer risk can be dramatically reduced (Katiyar 2007; Katiyar 2011; Payette 2010; Yang 2011; Caccialanza 2011; Ramirez Boscá 2012; Zattra 2009; Aguilera 2013).