Age and Risk
Melanoma used to be considered a disease of older people, since about half of melanomas occur in people over the age of 50, with the median age at diagnosis being 59. However, 25% of melanoma cases occur in people under age 40.
While the number of children diagnosed with melanoma is not changing significantly, the number of children dying from melanoma has fallen significantly over the last 36 years.1 This improvement is thought to be the result of better education and screening.
Young people are at greater risk if there is a family history of melanoma, therefore, even young children should be screened in this circumstance.
Teen and Young Adults
Melanoma accounts for 6 percent of cancer cases in teens 15-29 years old. 2
It is the third most common cancer among women ages 20-39 and the second most common cancer in men ages 20-39. 3
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.4
From 2004 to 2013, the rate increased by 2% to 3% per year among men and women ages 50 and older. However, is had stabilized among men and women younger than age 50.4
From 2005 to 2014, the rate was stable in adults 50 years of age and older, but declined by 2.6% per year in individuals younger than 50.4
1. Lewis KG. Trends in pediatric melanoma mortality in the United States, 1968 through 2004. Dermatol Surg. 2008;34(2):152-159.
2. American Cancer Society. “Cancer Facts and Figures 2016”. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2015.
3. Based on data from 2008 - 2012.
4. American Cancer Society. “Cancer Facts and Figures 2016”. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2017.