Incidence of Malignant Melanoma of the Skin–United States, 2009–2018

U.S. Cancer Statistics Data Briefs, No. 28
May 2022

In 2018, a total of 83,996 new cases of melanoma were reported in the United States: 49,547 among males and 34,449 among females. The incidence rate was 22.0 per 100,000 standard population, 27.9 per 100,000 males, and 17.7 per 100,000 females.

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Invasive melanoma of the skin was the sixth most common cancer by rate of new cancer cases in 2018. Most cases of skin cancer, including malignant melanoma of the skin, are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun, tanning beds, or sunlamps. During 2009 to 2018, incidence of malignant melanoma of the skin increased 1.2 percent per year on average and most cases were diagnosed at the localized stage (Table 1). By race and ethnicity, non-Hispanic White individuals had the highest incidence rate of malignant melanoma of the skin (Figure 1).

Table 1. Trends in incidencea of malignant melanoma of the skin by sex and stage at diagnosisb—United States, 2009–2018
2009 Rate 2009 Count 2018 Rate 2018 Count AAPC
Total 20.4 65,637 22.0 83,996 1.2*
Female 16.5 27,756 17.7 34,449 1.5*
Male 26.0 37,881 27.9 49,547 1.1*
Stage
Localized 15.9 51,126 17.0 64,701 1.5*
Regional 2.0 6,353 2.1 7,818 0.5
Distant 0.9 2,762 1.0 3,772 1.3
Unknown 1.7 5,396 2.0 7,693 2.2*

Abbreviation: AAPC = average annual percent change. AAPCs shown in the table are during 2009–2018.
aRates are per 100,000 population and are age-adjusted to the 2000 US standard population.
bMerged Summary Stage 2000 was used to classify stage at diagnosis.
*Denotes statistical significance (P <.05).

Figure 1. Incidencea of malignant melanoma of the skin by race/ethnicityb—United States, 2009–2018

Abbreviations: NH = non-Hispanic. AAPC = average annual percent change. AI/AN = American Indian or Alaska Native. A/PI = Asian or Pacific Islander.
aRates are per 100,000 population and are age-adjusted to the 2000 US standard population.
bRacial and ethnic groups are mutually exclusive. Hispanic persons can be any race.
*Indicate AAPC is significantly different from zero at α 0.05.

Incidence by U.S. Census Region

During 2009 to 2018, incidence of malignant melanoma of the skin was highest among individuals in the West and Midwest regions (Figure 2). Incidence increased the most among individuals living in the Midwest (2.6 percent per year on average). When examined by U.S. census region and race/ethnicity, malignant melanoma of the skin was highest among non-Hispanic White individuals (Figure 3). During the same period, incidence increased among non-Hispanic White individuals in the West, Midwest, and South, and decreased among non-Hispanic Black individuals in the South.

Figure 2. Incidencea of malignant melanoma of the skin by U.S. census region—United States, 2009–2018

Abbreviation: AAPC = average annual percent change. AAPCs shown in the figure are during 2009–2018.
aRates are per 100,000 population and are age-adjusted to the 2000 US standard population.
*Denotes statistical significance (P <.05).

Figure 3. Incidencea of malignant melanoma of the skin by U.S. census region and race/ethnicityb—United States, 2009–2018

Abbreviations: NH = non-Hispanic. A/PI = Asian or Pacific Islander.
aRates are per 100,000 population and are age-adjusted to the 2000 US standard population.
bAmerican Indian and Alaska Native people were excluded due to case counts fewer than 16. Race and ethnicity are mutually exclusive.

The following rates shown in Figure 3 are statistically significant (P <.05)—

  • West region, 2018, non-Hispanic White.
  • South region, 2018, non-Hispanic White.
  • South region, 2018, non-Hispanic Black.
  • Midwest region, 2018, non-Hispanic White.

Incidence by 10-Year Age Groups

During 2009 to 2018, incidence of malignant melanoma of the skin was highest among individuals aged 75 to 84 years and 85 years or older. Incidence of malignant melanoma of the skin increased the most among individuals aged 75 to 84 years (2.4 percent per year on average) and aged 85 years and older (2.6 percent per year on average). Incidence of malignant melanoma of the skin was lowest among individuals aged 15 to 24 years and decreased the most among individuals aged 15 to 24 years (4.9 percent per year on average).

Figure 4. Incidencea of malignant melanoma of the skin by 10-year age groups—United States, 2009–2018

Abbreviation: AAPC = average annual percent change.
aRates are per 100,000 population and are age-adjusted to the 2000 US standard population.
*Denotes statistical significance (P <.05).

Data Sources

Data in this brief come from U.S. Cancer Statistics, the official federal cancer statistics.

U.S. Cancer Statistics incidence data are from population-based registries that participate in CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and/or the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program and met high-quality data for the 2020 data submission period, covering 97% of the U.S. population (excluding data from Nevada).

National Program of Cancer Registries and Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program SEER*Stat Database: NPCR and SEER Incidence – U.S. Cancer Statistics 2001–2018 Public Use Research Database, 2020 submission (2001–2018), United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Cancer Institute. Released June 2021. Available at www.cdc.gov/cancer/uscs/public-use.

Suggested Citation

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. United States Cancer Statistics: Incidence of Malignant Melanoma of the Skin—United States, 2009–2018. USCS Data Brief, no. 28. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services; 2022.

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