Melanoma Facts and Statistics

  • Approximately one person dies of melanoma every hour in the U.S.

  • An estimated 87,110 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017.

  • An estimated 9,730 Americans will die of melanoma in 2017.

  • Melanoma accounts for less than one percent of skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.

  • The estimated 5-year survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early is about 98 percent in the U.S. The survival rate falls to 62 percent when the disease reaches the lymph nodes, and 18 percent when the disease spreads to distant organs.

  •  The vast majority of melanomas are caused by the sun. In fact, one UK study found that about 86 percent of melanomas can be attributed to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

  • Women aged 49 and under have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer except breast and thyroid cancers.

  • The estimated 5-year melanoma survival rate for blacks is only 69 percent, versus 93 percent for whites. Melanomas are often identified in more advanced stages in people of color, which may be because of a prevalent myth that people of color cannot get skin cancer.

  • Risk factors for all types of skin cancer include skin that burns easily; blond or red hair; a history of excessive sun exposure, including sunburns; tanning bed use; immune system-suppressing diseases or treatments; and a history of skin cancer.  

 

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