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 2% of skin cancer cases but causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths.
Here are the American Cancer Society’s estimates for melanoma in the United States for 2015:
- About 73,870 new melanomas will be diagnosed (about 42,670 in men and 31,200 in women).
- About 9,940 people are expected to die of melanoma (about 6,640 men and 3,300 women).
The rates of melanoma have been rising for at least 30 years.
Melanoma is more than 20 times more common in whites than in African Americans. Overall, the lifetime risk of getting melanoma is about 2.4% (1 in 40) 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 “What are the risk factors for melanoma skin cancer?”
The risk of melanoma increases as people age. The average age at the time it is found is 62. But melanoma is not uncommon even among those younger than 30. In fact, it is one of the most common cancers in young adults (especially young women).
For melanoma survival statistics, see the section “What are the survival rates for melanoma skin cancer by stage?”
Last Medical Review: 03/19/2015
Last Revised: 03/20/2015