Melanoma Facts and Stats

Melanoma diagnoses are increasing at epidemic rates. You can help make a difference by knowing and sharing the facts about melanoma. 

Melanoma Diagnosis Facts

  • Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. 
  • Every hour of every day one American dies from melanoma - that's approximately 10,000 per year.
  • In 2017, over 160,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with melanoma. Of these, approximately, 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 (Stage 0).
  • Melanoma is not just skin cancer. It can develop anywhere on the body - eyes, scalp, nails, feet, mouth, etc.
  • Melanoma does not discriminate by age, race or gender.
  • Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death in young women ages 25-30 and the second leading cause of cancer death in women ages 30-35.
  • In ages 15-29, melanoma is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer.
  • The incidence of people under 30 developing melanoma is increasing faster than any other demographic group, soaring by 50% in women since 1980.
  • Approximately 500 American children are diagnosed with melanoma each year.
  • The majority of people diagnosed with melanoma are white men over the age of 50.
  • Today, nearly 1 million people live with melanoma in the U.S.
  • The lifetime risk of getting melanoma is about 1 in 40 for Caucasians, 1 in 200 for Hispanics and 1 in 1,000 for African Americans.
  • Ocular melanoma, or melanoma of the eye, is the most common primary eye tumor in adults with around 2,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States.
  • Mucosal melanoma is a rare form of melanoma that develops in the sinuses, nasal passages, oral cavity, vagina, anus and other areas, making up about 1% of melanoma cases.

Melanoma Prevention Facts

  • Nearly 90% of melanomas are thought to be caused by exposure to UV light and sunlight.
  • It takes only one blistering sunburn, especially at a young age, to more than double a person's chance of developing melanoma later in life.
  • You can help prevent melanoma by seeking shade whenever possible, wearing protective clothing, avoiding direct sunlight between 10am-4pm and using broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 every day.

Indoor & Intentional Tanning Facts

  • Indoor tanning devices are proven to cause cancer and have been classified into the highest cancer risk category by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC).
  • Exposure to tanning beds before age 30 increases a person's risk of developing melanoma by 75%.
  • Young people who regularly use tanning beds are 8 times more likely to develop melanoma than people who have never used them.
  • Research has found that indoor tanning does not protect against sunburn.
  • Having 5 or more blistering sunburns early in life increases one's melanoma risk by 80%.