Key Statistics for Melanoma Skin Cancer

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 2021 are:

  • About 106,110 new melanomas will be diagnosed (about 62,260 in men and 43,850 in women).
  • About 7,180 people are expected to die of melanoma (about 4,600 men and 2,580 women).

The rates of melanoma have been rising rapidly over the past few decades, but this has varied by age.

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 2.6% (1 in 38) for whites, 0.1% (1 in 1,000) for Blacks, and 0.6% (1 in 167) 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.

Melanoma is more common in men overall, but before age 50 the rates are higher in women than in men.

The risk of melanoma increases as people age. The average age of people when it is diagnosed is 65. 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).

For survival statistics, see Survival Rates for Melanoma Skin Cancer by Stage.

Visit the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics Center for more key statistics.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

American Cancer Society. Facts & Figures 2021. American Cancer Society. Atlanta, Ga. 2021.

National Cancer Institute. SEER Cancer Stat Facts: Melanoma of the Skin. Accessed at https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/melan.html on June 10, 2019.

Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Brest A, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2016, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2016/, based on November 2018 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2019.

References

American Cancer Society. Facts & Figures 2021. American Cancer Society. Atlanta, Ga. 2021.

National Cancer Institute. SEER Cancer Stat Facts: Melanoma of the Skin. Accessed at https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/melan.html on June 10, 2019.

Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Brest A, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2016, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2016/, based on November 2018 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2019.

Last Revised: January 12, 2021

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