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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.
The American Cancer Society’s estimates for melanoma in the United States for 2023 are:
The rates of melanoma have been rising rapidly over the past few decades, but this has varied by age. In adults ages 50 and older, rates continue to increase in women by about 1% per year from 2015 to 2019 but have stabilized in men.
Melanoma mortality rates declined rapidly over the past decade (2011 to 2020) because of advances in treatment, by about 5% per year in adults younger than age 50 and 3% per year in those 50 and older.
Melanoma is more than 20 times more common in White people than in Black people. Overall, the lifetime risk of getting melanoma for White people is about 2.6% ( or 1 in 38), 0.1% (1 in 1,000) for Black people, and 0.6% (1 in 167) for Hispanic people. 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 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.
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 2023. American Cancer Society. Atlanta, Ga. 2023.
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, 2023