Melanoma Incidence and Mortality, United States—2012–2016

U.S. Cancer Statistics Data Briefs, No. 9
July 2019

Invasive melanoma of the skin is the third most common skin cancer type. In 2014, The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer (Call to Action) was released to raise awareness about skin cancer as a serious public health concern. One of the five goals outlined in the Call to Action was to “strengthen research, surveillance, monitoring, and evaluation related skin cancer prevention,” including enhancing understanding of melanoma incidence and death rates.

Incidence

Based on data from 2012 to 2016, about 77,698 new cases of melanoma occurred in the United States each year, including 45,854 among men and 31,845 among women. The overall incidence rate of melanoma was 21.8 per 100,000. The highest incidence rate was among non-Hispanic white males (34.9 per 100,000), and the lowest rate was among black females (0.9 per 100,000) (Table 1).

Table 1. Average Annual Number and Ratea of Invasive Melanoma Cases by Sex and Race/Ethnicity, United States, 2012–2016
Race/Ethnicityb Rate Count
US Population
All Races 21.8 77,698
White 24.9 73,395
White, Hispanic 4.6 1,591
White, non-Hispanic 28.0 71,801
Black 1.0 372
American Indian/Alaska Native 5.6 190
Asian/Pacific Islander 1.3 239
Hispanic 4.6 1,725
Male
All Races 27.9 45,854
White 31.4 43,561
White, Hispanic 5.0 733
White, non-Hispanic 34.9 42,826
Black 1.1 179
American Indian/Alaska Native 7.1 104
Asian/Pacific Islander 1.5 120
Hispanic 5.0 794
Female
All Races 17.2 31,845
White 20 29,834
White, Hispanic 4.5 858
White, non-Hispanic 22.8 28,975
Black 0.9 193
American Indian/Alaska Native 4.6 86
Asian/Pacific Islander 1.2 120
Hispanic 4.4 931

aRates are per 100,000 population and are age adjusted to the 2000 US standard population.

bRace and ethnicity are not mutually exclusive, except for “White, Hispanic” and “White, non-Hispanic.” Counts may not always sum to the total because of rounding and because cases with other or unknown race are included in total.

Mortality

During the same time period, about 9,008 people died from melanoma in the United States each year, including 5,930 men and 3,079 women. The overall death rate of melanoma was 2.5 per 100,000. The highest death rate was among non-Hispanic white males (4.7 per 100,000), and the lowest death rate was among black and Asian/Pacific Islander females (0.3 per 100,000) (Table 2).

Table 2. Average Annual Number and Ratea of Melanoma Deaths by Sex and Race/Ethnicity, United States, 2012–2016b
Race/Ethnicityc Rate Count
US Population
All Races 2.5 9,008
White 2.9 8,805
White, Hispanic 0.8 233
White, non-Hispanic 3.2 8,556
Black 0.4 131
American Indian/Alaska Native 0.5 15
Asian/Pacific Islander 0.3 58
Hispanic 0.7 237
Male
All Races 3.7 5,930
White 4.3 5,826
White, Hispanic 1.0 138
White, non-Hispanic 4.7 5,677
Black 0.4 67
American Indian/Alaska Native 0.7 8
Asian/Pacific Islander 0.4 28
Hispanic 0.9 140
Female
All Races 1.5 3,079
White 1.8 2,979
White, Hispanic 0.6 95
White, non-Hispanic 2.0 2,879
Black 0.3 63
American Indian/Alaska Native 0.4 7
Asian/Pacific Islander 0.3 30
Hispanic 0.5 97

aRates are per 100,000 population and are age adjusted to the 2000 US standard population.

bData are from U.S. Cancer Statistics, which includes cancer deaths during 1999–2016; cancer death data for 2017 are available.

cRace and ethnicity are not mutually exclusive, except for “White, Hispanic” and “White, non-Hispanic.” Counts may not always sum to the total because of rounding and because cases with other or unknown race are included in total.

Five-Year Trends

Among both males and females, incidence rates for melanoma continued to increase during 2003 to 2016, whereas death rates recently declined (Figure 1). During the most recent five years (2012 to 2016), incidence rates increased 1.8% per year on average for males and 2.5% per year on average for females. During 2012 to 2016, death rates decreased 4.9% per year on average for males and 5.0% per year on average for females. Since 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved new treatments for advanced melanoma.external icon

Figure 1. Age-Adjusted Melanoma Incidence and Death Ratesa, by Sex, United States, 2003–2016

Abbreviation: AAPC, average annual percentage change. AAPCs shown in the figure are during 2003–2016.

aRates are per 100,000 population and are age adjusted to the 2000 US standard population.

*Denotes statistical significance (P <.05).

Increases in melanoma incidence rates over time have been driven largely by changes in incidence rates among non-Hispanic whites, because this group has the highest overall incidence rates. During the most recent five years of data (2012 to 2016), melanoma incidence rates increased significantly among non-Hispanic white males aged 60 to 64 years and 70 to 74 years, and among non-Hispanic white females aged 50 to 54 years, 60 to 64 years, 65 to 69 years, and 70 to 74 years. Incidence rates did not change significantly during that time period for other age groups among non-Hispanic whites. Figure 2 shows the absolute difference in melanoma case counts in 2016 versus 2012 among non-Hispanic whites by sex and 5-year age groups. Nearly 9,000 more melanoma cases were diagnosed among non-Hispanic whites in 2016 compared to 2012 (5,511 more cases among non-Hispanic white men and 3,375 more cases among non-Hispanic white women). The increases in absolute case counts were mostly among people who were 55 years old or older.

Figure 2. Absolute Difference in Melanoma Case Counts in 2016 versus 2012 Among Non-Hispanic White Males and Females Aged ≥ 15 Years, by Sex and Age Group, United States

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 meet high-quality data for the November 2018 data submission, covering 100% of the U.S. population.

U.S Cancer Statistics death data are from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics National Vital Statistics System and cover 100% of U.S. population.

Suggested Citation

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Melanoma Incidence and Mortality, United States–2012–2016. USCS Data Brief, no. 9. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services; 2019.