Survey: Most Americans Behind in Getting Checked for Skin Cancer

2 min read

June 13, 2023 -- Most adults haven’t had their skin checked in at least a year, even though skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis and the easiest to prevent, the Prevent Cancer Foundation says.

A new survey from the organization reports that 7 of 10 Americans over 21 haven’t had their skin checked in at least a year – and almost 1 in 4 have never been checked.

"This is an opportunity for us to catch things early, and we know with melanoma when it is caught later it can be deadly," Janie Leonhart, MD, a dermatologist, told KOMO news in Seattle.

Doctors say people should use the ABCDEs to check their skin for suspicious moles, looking for:


  • Asymmetry
  • Border irregularity
  • Color that is not uniform
  • Diameter greater than 6 millimeters
  • Evolving, size, shape or color

"Really important is that E," Leonhart said. "E is the evolution, something that comes up that doesn't belong or a spot you know because you've been watching has been there but is changing or evolving.

Skin cancer is the most common of all human cancers. In 2022, about 100,000 people in the U.S. were expected to be diagnosed with some type of the disease. About 7,650 are expected to die. 

Most adult Americans are also at least a year behind in at least one cancer screening, the foundation said in a press release. “Survey participants cite not knowing they need to be screened (39%), not having symptoms (37%) and inability to afford the cost (31%) as top reasons for not being up to date.”

Jody Hoyos, CEO of the Prevent Cancer Foundation, said education results in more screenings for cancers, not just skin cancers.

“Routine screenings should be part of your wellness routine, just like eating healthy, exercising and taking care of your mental health,” Hoyos said.