What are the key statistics about melanoma skin cancer?
Cancer of the skin is by far the most common of all cancers. Melanoma accounts for less than 5% of skin cancer cases but causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths.
The American Cancer Society's estimates for melanoma in the United States for 2013:
- About 76,690 new melanomas will be diagnosed (about 45,060 in men and 31,630 in women). The rates of melanoma have been rising for at least 30 years.
- About 9,480 people are expected to die of melanoma (about 6,280 men and 3,200 women).
Melanoma is more than 20 times more common in whites than in African Americans. Overall, the lifetime risk of getting melanoma is about 2% (1 in 50) for whites, 0.1% (1 in 1,000) for blacks, and 0.5% (1 in 200) for Hispanics. The risk for each person can be affected by a number of different factors, which are described in the section called “What are the risk factors for melanoma skin cancer?”
Unlike many other common cancers, melanoma occurs in both younger and older people. Rates continue to increase with age and are highest among those in their 80s, but melanoma is not uncommon even among those younger than 30. In fact, it is one of the more common cancers in young adults (especially young women).
For information on survival rates for melanoma, see the section called “How is melanoma of the skin staged?”
Last Medical Review: 09/20/2012
Last Revised: 05/30/2013