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Many Americans Unfamiliar With Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Survey Finds

By: Sarah Jackson
Posted: Monday, August 26, 2019

Nearly three-quarters of Americans are not familiar with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common type of skin cancer in the United States (behind basal cell carcinoma), according to a new survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of The Skin Cancer Foundation. Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma is more common than breast, lung, and prostate cancers combined, yet the survey found a lack of awareness and understanding of this type of skin cancer among a majority of Americans.

“Although cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma is far more common than melanoma, these survey findings reveal that cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma is virtually unknown to most Americans, and most have significant misconceptions of how dangerous it can be if it progresses,” said Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD, President of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “This large gap in knowledge highlights the urgent need to increase public awareness of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, including understanding of the seriousness of advanced cases.”

A few highlights of the findings of this survey, which was conducted in May 2019 and surveyed more than 2,000 adults across the United States, follow:

  • 42% had never heard of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma; in contrast, just 11% said they had never heard of melanoma.
  • 54% falsely believed that melanoma is the most common type of skin cancer in the United States.
  • 72% did not understand that nonmelanoma skin cancers can metastasize and become life-threatening.
  • 58% knew advanced melanoma could be life-threatening, yet just 28% thought the same about advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.

For more information on the survey and online resources on cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, visit skincancer.org/csccsurvey.

Disclosure: The survey was conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of The Skin Cancer Foundation and in coordination with Regeneron and Sanofi.



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