The incidence of many common cancers is falling, but the incidence of melanoma continues to rise significantly, at a rate faster than that of any of the seven most common cancers.
Why Preventing Skin Cancer Matters
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form on cancer in the United States, with more new cases each year occuring than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer combined.
The majority of melanomas are thought to be caused from too much exposure to UV (ultraviolet) light, either from the sun or from artificial sources, like tanning beds.
Melanoma does not discriminate by age, race or gender. It can develop anywhere on the body - eyes, scalp, nails, feet, mouth, etc. Ocular melanoma (melanoma in the eye) and mucosal melanoma (melanoma in the mucous membrane) are not thought to be related to UV exposure. Pediatric melanoma is on the rise by about 2% each year, with 500 children diagnosed each year in the U.S.
Melanoma Facts & Statistics
- In 2017, over 160,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma. Of these, 87,000 will be diagnosed with invasive (Stage I, II, III or IV) melanoma and another 74,000 will be diagnosed with melanoma in situ (1).
- Every hour of every day one American dies from melanoma - that's almost 10,000 people per year (1).
- By 2017, it is estimated that one in 50 Americans will develop melanoma in their lifetime (1).
- The estimated cost of treating melanoma is approximately $3.3 billion each year (2).
- Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death in young women ages 25-30 and the second leading cuae of cancer death in women ages 30-35 (3).
- Nearly 90% of melanomas are thought to be caused by over exposure to UV light, both from natural and artificial sources (2).
- Every year in the U.S. nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer, at an estimated cost of $8.1 billion (2).
- American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2017. Retrieved January 10, 2017, from https://www.cancer.org/research/cancer-facts-statistics/all-cancer-facts-figures/cancer-facts-figures-2017.html
- The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer. Retrieved February 16, 2017 from https://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/prevent-skin-cancer/call-to-action-prevent-skin-cancer.pdf.
- Cancer epidemiology in older adolescents and young adults 15-29 years of age, including SEER incidence and survival: 1975-2000. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute; 2006
- About Us
- Skin Cancer
- Member Section
Skin Cancer Quiz - Consumers Report
Take a quiz to see how much you know about skin cancer.