Melanoma Stats, Facts, and Figures

2% of All Cancer Cases

Melanoma is the least common but the most deadly skin cancer, accounting for only about 2% of all cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer cases.1

In 2015, it is estimated that there will be 73,870 new cases of melanoma in the United States and 9,940 deaths from the disease. 2

25% of Melanoma Cases

People under age 45 account for 25% of all melanoma cases.

200% Increase Since 1973

The incidence rate of melanoma has doubled since 1973. The United States has experienced a dramatic increase in the number of melanoma cases over the past few decades. The incidence of melanoma has increased 15 times in the last 40 years. This is a more rapid increase than for any other cancer!3 In the United Kingdom, a similar increase in the incidence has been seen.4

It should be noted however, that although the increase in the rate of melanoma has doubled since 1973 it has been STABLE since 2000.

5 Year Survival Rate Has Increased

During this same time period, there has been a significant rise in overall 5-year survival in patients with melanoma. This may be due to earlier diagnosis, when tumors are still at a thinner depth, as well as improved surgical techniques to remove them.5

The mortality rate for melanoma (number of deaths per 100,000 people each year) has increased at a much slower pace and has remained stable over the past 10 years.

Common Cancer

In young American women between the ages of 20 and 35, and in adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 29, melanoma is the second most common cancer.

Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 25 to 30 and is second only to breast cancer in women ages 30 to 34.

In the US, melanoma is currently the fifth most common cancer in men and the seventh most common in women of all age groups.

America’s Highest Risk Population

Caucasian-Americans are 23 times more likely to develop melanoma than African-Americans. Worldwide, White populations have the highest risk of developing melanoma, and Asian populations have the lowest risk.6

10% of all people with melanoma have a family history of melanoma.

World’s Highest Risk Countries

The world’s highest incidence of melanoma is in Australia and New Zealand (more than twice as high as in North America). This may be due to how close these countries are to the equator, their greatly reduced ozone layer, and their population of mostly fair-skinned people.

Because of Australia’s extensive skin cancer screening program, there has been a decrease in average tumor depth at the time of diagnosis.

73,870 new cases of invasive melanoma and 63,440 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) melanoma will be diagnosed in the United States in 20152

  • 42,670 cases of invasive melanoma will occur in males.
  • 31,200 cases of invasive melanoma will occur in females.

Figures From Around the World

  • About 200,000 new cases are diagnosed worldwide each year.
  • According to the World Health Organization Report, about 46,000 melanoma-related deaths occur worldwide each year.
  • In some parts of the world, especially among Western countries, melanoma is becoming more common every year. In the United States, for example, the percentage of people who develop melanoma has more than doubled in the past 30 years.

Likelihood of Getting Melanoma

  • 10 times more common in Caucasians than in African-Americans. It is slightly more common in males than in females.2
  • 10% of all people with melanoma have a family history of melanoma.

Survival Rates

  • 6,640 males and 3,300 females are expected to die of melanoma during 2015.2
  • 91% and 89% is the survival rate for people with all stages of melanoma to live without the disease for at least 5 or 10 years.

Note: All survival rates are estimated averages based on past cases but do not necessarily mean that it may predict your individual survival. Every person and every case is different, and many factors may contribute to survival.

All Stages Local Regional Distant





Birth to 49 50 to 59 60 to 69 70 and Older


0.30% (1 in 294)

0.40% (1 in 240)

0.80% (1 in 129)

2.1% (1 in 47)


0.50% (1 in 207)

0.30% (1 in 323)

0.40% (1 in 246)

0.9% (1 in 112)

Note: Based on data from 2009-2011

Race Survival Rate



African American


All Races


Note: Based on data from 2004-2010

State Estimated Cases





New York








North Carolina


New Jersey







1. SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results) data.
2. American Cancer Society, 2015.
3. Weinstock MA. Epidemiology, Etiology, and Control of Melanoma. Med Health R I. 2001;84(7):234-236.
5. Lancet. 2002;94:1537-1545.
6. Lotze MT, Dallal RM, Kirkwood JM, Flickinger JC. Cutaneous Melanoma. In DeVita VT, Rosenberg SA, Hellman S, eds. Principles and Practice of Oncology, 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott; 2001.

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