Melanoma Stats, Facts, and Figures

1% of All Cancer Cases

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

In 2017, it is estimated that there will be 87,110 new cases of melanoma in the United States and 9,730 deaths from the disease.2

  • 52,170 cases of invasive melanoma will occur in males.
  • 34,940 cases of invasive melanoma will occur in females.

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

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 treatment and surgical techniques.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

Melanoma is the third most common cancer among women ages 20-39 and the second most common cancer in men ages 20-39.

In the US, melanoma is currently the fifth most common cancer in men and the sixth most common in women of all age groups.2

America’s Highest Risk Population

Caucasian-Americans are 26 times more likely to develop melanoma than African-Americans. Worldwide, Caucasian 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.

Figures From Around the World

About 132,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization.

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.

The incidence of malignant melanoma in Caucasian populations generally increases with decreasing latitude, with the highest recorded incidence occurring in Australia, where the annual rates of melanoma are 10 and over 20 times the rates in Europe for women and men respectively.

Likelihood of Getting Melanoma

Melanoma is most commonly diagnosed in non-Hispanic whites; 1 per 100,000 in African Americans, 5 per 100,000 in Hispanics, and 26 per 100,000 in non-Hispanic whites.

Incidence rates are higher in women than in men before the age of 50, but by age 65, rates in men double those in women, and by age 80 they are triple.2

Ten percent of all people with melanoma have a family history of melanoma.

Survival Rates

6,380 males and 3,350 females are expected to die in the U.S. of melanoma during 2017.2

92% 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





Note: Based on data from 2006-2012.

Race Survival Rate



African American


All Races


Note: Based on data from 2006-2012.

Probability of Developing Melanoma of the Skin

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


(1 in 220)

(1 in 198)

(1 in 111)

(1 in 40)


(1 in 155)

(1 in 273)

(1 in 212)

(1 in 97)

Note: Based on data from 2010-2012.

State Estimated Cases





New York








North Carolina






New Jersey



1. SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results) data.
2. American Cancer Society. “Cancer Facts and Figures 2016”. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2017.
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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