Melanoma is the deadliest of skin cancers. Rates of diagnosis for the disease have increased dramatically over the past three decades, outpacing almost all other cancers. Today, it is one of the most common cancers found among young adults in the United States. The following information provides key facts regarding risk and incidence of melanoma. Related infographics can be found here.
- Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, in most cases, is related to UV-induced damage. Sources of UV include tanning beds and the sun. Severe sunburns, especially at a young age, are also linked to melanoma.
- The average age of people diagnosed with melanoma 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).
- According to the CDC, the incidence of melanoma has doubled during the past three decades in the United States.
- In addition to the risk of melanoma increasing by 75 percent with tanning bed use before the age of 35, there is also an association between UV-emitting tanning devices and cancer of the eye (ocular melanoma).
- The international Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that UV-A and UV-B rays cause DNA damage, which can lead to skin cancer in laboratory animals and humans.
- Nearly 10,000 people in the United States are expected to die of melanoma in 2017— about 6,380 men and 3,350 women.
- 87,110 people in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with new melanomas in 2017.
- Your risk of melanoma is higher if one or more of your first-degree relatives (parents, brothers, sisters, or children) had melanoma. Around 10% of all people with melanoma have a family history of the disease.
- 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 5-year relative survival rate from diagnosis for localized, early melanoma is over 98%, but less than 20% for melanoma that has spread to distant sites.
- Since 2007, 11 new FDA-approved melanoma therapies have been developed for treatment of the disease.