Melanoma is the deadliest of skin cancers. Rates of diagnosis for the disease have increased dramatically over the past three decades, outpacing almost all other cancers. Today, it is one of the most common cancers found among young adults in the United States. The following information provides key facts regarding risk and incidence of melanoma. Related infographics can be found here.
- According to the CDC, the incidence of melanoma has doubled during the past three decades in the United States.
- One person dies of melanoma every hour, every day.
- Your risk of melanoma is higher if one or more of your first-degree relatives (parents, brothers, sisters, or children) had melanoma. Around 10% of all people with melanoma have a family history of the disease.
- Melanoma is more than 20 times more common in whites than in blacks. Overall, the lifetime risk of getting melanoma is about 2.5% (1 in 40) for whites, 0.1% (1 in 1,000) for blacks, and 0.5% (1 in 200) for Hispanics.
- 106,110 people in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with new melanomas in 2021.
- On age related cancers, melanoma is the #1 most diagnosed cancer among 25 to 29 year olds in the United States. For 15 to 29 year olds, it is the 3rd most common for men and 4th most common for women.
- The average age of people diagnosed with melanoma is 63. But melanoma is not uncommon even among those younger than 30. In fact, it’s one of the most common cancers in young adults (especially young women).
- An estimated 7,180 people in the United States are expected to die of melanoma in 2021—about 4,600 men and 2,580 women.
Tanning and Sun Damage:
- In addition to the risk of melanoma increasing by 75 percent with tanning bed use before the age of 35, there is also an association between UV-emitting tanning devices and cancer of the eye (ocular melanoma).
- Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, in most cases, is related to UV-induced damage. Sources of UV include tanning beds and the sun. Severe sunburns, especially at a young age, are also linked to melanoma.
- The international Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that UV-A and UV-B rays cause DNA damage, which can lead to skin cancer in laboratory animals and humans.
Treatment and Clinical Trials:
- The 5-year relative survival rate from diagnosis for localized, early melanoma is over 98%, but only about 25% for melanoma that has spread to distant sites.
- Since 2007, 12 new FDA-approved melanoma therapies have been developed for treatment of the disease.
- 100% of treatments and medications currently available for melanoma were first rigorously tested in clinical trials.
- 1 in 4 clinical trials fail because they don’t enroll enough patients; lack of enrollment in clinical trials is one of the biggest obstacles to bringing new, potentially life-saving therapies to market.
- Of all clinical trial participants in the U.S., 80-90% are white.
- Almost half of all people who participate in a clinical trial do so to help advance science and the treatment of their condition.
- Today there are more than 400 melanoma-focused clinical trials currently recruiting patients.
- Only 15% of patients in North America have been asked to participate in a clinical research study.
- Over half of clinical trial participants would recommend participation to family and friends.
- Today, only 1 out of 20 cancer patients enroll in a clinical trial.