Melanoma Facts


2000% increase in melanoma incidences since 1930

  • Over one million new cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year, outnumbering the total number of other cancers combined
  • 2000% increase in melanoma incidences since 1930 with 1 in 50 being affected
  • Most common cancer killer of young women, more common than breast cancer in ages 29-34
  • Women aged 39 and under have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer except breast cancer.
  • An estimated 44,250 new cases of invasive melanoma in men and 32,000 in women will be diagnosed in the US in 2012.
  • From 1970 to 2009, the incidence of melanoma increased by 800 percent among young women and 400 percent among young men.

Mortality Rate

One person dies each hour from melanoma.  Incidence is rising steadily on a global scale. It is clear from the literature that melanoma leads to significant years of potential life lost and high costs associated with premature mortality and morbidity.   The costs attributable to melanoma range from $39.2 million for morbidity and $3.3 billion for mortality, respectively, in 2012. Prevention and early detection efforts are key tools in lowering the incidence of late stage melanoma.


The Forgotten Cancer

  • Melanoma/skin cancer is the most underfunded of all cancers by federal and private agencies
  • Early detection makes melanoma highly curable, but it is the least screened for cancer
  • People find their own melanomas more frequently than doctors do and melanoma detection is not a training requirement for most medical disciplines

The Promise

  • New therapies are being developed quickly
  • The discovery of targeted therapies and immunotherapies are making melanoma a chronic disease as people are living longer

To Avoid Melanoma

15 minutes in a tanning salon is equal to a whole day’s exposure at the beach

  • Seek shade and avoid direct sun during the peak hours of 10-4
    Cover up with protective clothing and use sunscreen lotion
  • Protect your children and role model sun safe behaviors
  • Examine your skin and that of your loved ones each season for any changes that should be checked by a dermatologist
  • Avoid tanning salons: 15 minutes is equal to a whole day’s exposure at the beach


Source: National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society’s Facts and Figures, The Skin Cancer Foundation, The American Academy of Dermatology.

Source: Melanoma: Not Just Skin Cancer, by Catherine M. Poole; Contributing editors: Keith Flaherty, MD, DuPont Guerry, MD and Jedd Wolchok, MD, 2015.

General Disclaimer

The MIF Website is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through this Website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.

UPDATED: February 7, 2018