Cancer of the skin is by far the most common of all cancers. Melanoma accounts for only about 1% of skin cancers but causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths.
How common is melanoma?
The American Cancer Society’s estimates for melanoma in the United States for 2016 are:
- About 76,380 new melanomas will be diagnosed (about 46,870 in men and 29,510 in women).
- About 10,130 people are expected to die of melanoma (about 6,750 men and 3,380 women).
The rates of melanoma have been rising for the last 30 years.
Risk of getting melanoma
Melanoma is more than 20 times more common in whites than in African Americans. Overall, the lifetime risk of getting melanoma is about 2.5% (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 Risk factors for melanoma skin cancer.
The risk of melanoma increases as people age. The average age of people when it is diagnosed is 63. But melanoma is not uncommon even among those younger than 30. In fact, it’s one of the most common cancers in young adults (especially young women).
Also see melanoma survival statistics, by stage.
Visit the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics Center for more key statistics.
Last Revised: 05/20/2016