On sunny days this spring, have you paused five minutes to apply one of the many brands of sunscreen on the market? Or did you decide to chance it, thinking the worst will never happen to you?
Next time you're faced with that decision, think about this:
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States with more than 3.5 million cases diagnosed each year. The total cases of breast cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer combined don't equal that number.
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and many of those will be diagnosed with melanoma -- the absolute worst of the worst.
Between 1970 and 2009, cases of melanoma in the United States increased by 800 percent in young women and 400 percent in young men. That stat is no doubt related to our country's increased interest in new-age tanning beds and old-fashioned sun worshipping.
An estimated 76,690 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed this year. Those cases will account for an estimated 9,480 deaths.
If big numbers don't catch your eye, how about a little one: One person dies from melanoma in the U.S. every 57 minutes.
About 86 percent of all melanomas are caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation -- and while it's true the disease has a 92 percent cure rate, up from 49 percent during the 1950s, the treatment is a lot more grueling than the method of prevention.
Some experts believe it only takes one bad sunburn to greatly increase your chances of developing skin cancer.