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Fast Facts: Skin Cancer and Melanoma

By Matthew Mahady
Published: Friday, Jun 25, 2010
Skin Cancer

• It is estimated that in 2007, roughly 65,050 people (37,070 men and 27,980 women) will be diagnosed with cancer of the skin. This figure excludes patients who will have been diagnosed with basal and squamous skin cancer at some point in 2007. Source: National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)

• From the year 2000 through 2004, the median age at diagnosis for cancer of the skin (excluding basal and squamous) was 59 years of age. Of this population, approximately 1.0% were diagnosed under the age of 20; 8.2% between 20 and 34; 13.1% between 35 and 44; 18.4% between 45 and 54; 18.3% between 55 and 64; 18.2% between 65 and 74; 16.9% between 75 and 84; and 6.0% were over 85 years of age.

• Based on cases diagnosed in 2000–2004 from 17 geographic areas (selected by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to provide a representative national sampling), the age-adjusted incidence rate was 20.3 per 100,000 men and women per year.

• Numerous ethnic and gender disparities exist in the realm of skin cancer diagnosis. Incidence of skin cancer is highest among white males (29.7 per 100,000) and white females (18.9 per 100,000). The lowest incidence numbers belong to black females (1.9 per 100,000) and Asian and Pacific island females (2.7 per 100,000).

  • From 2000–2004, the median age at death for cancer of the skin (excluding basal and squamous) was 70 years of age. Approximately 0.1% died under age 20; 2.4% between 20 and 34; 6.4% between 35 and 44; 13.7% between 45 and 54; 17.7% between 55 and 64; 21.4% between 65 and 74; 24.3% between 75 and 84; and 14.1% of fatalities were in the 85-and-older age group.

• The age-adjusted death rate, based on patients who died in 2000–2004 in the United States, was 3.5 per 100,000 men and women per year.

• Skin cancer mortality is highest among white males (5.8 per 100,000) and white females (2.4 per 100,000). The lowest incidence numbers belong to Asian and Pacific island females (0.4 per 100,000) and black females (0.7 per 100,000).

• Between 2000–2004, skin cancer incidence rose at a rate of 0.4%. During the same period, however, mortality decreased.

• The overall 5-year relative survival rate (measuring the survival of the cancer patients in comparison to the general population) for 1996–2003 from the 17 NCI-selected geographic areas was 90.8%.

  • Five-year relative survival rates by race and sex were: 88.3% for white men, 93.1% for white women, 83.0% for black men, and 90.1% for black women.

• Roughly 79% of skin cancer (not including cases of basal and squamous cancer) cases are diagnosed while the cancer is still confined to the primary site (localized stage), 13% are diagnosed after the cancer has spread to regional lymph nodes or directly beyond the primary site, 3% are diagnosed after the cancer has already metastasized (distant stage), and for the remaining 4% the staging information was unknown.

• The corresponding 5-year relative survival rates were: 98.2% for localized, 68.8% for regional, 16.3% for distant, and 78.0% for unstaged.





Melanoma

• It is estimated that 59,940 men and women (33,910 men and 26,030 women) will be diagnosed with and 8,110 men and women will die of melanoma of the skin in 2007. Source: NCHS

• From 2000–2004, the median age at diagnosis for melanoma of the skin was 59 years of age. Approximately 1.0% were diagnosed under age 20; 8.3% between 20 and 34; 13.5% between 35 and 44; 19.0% between 45 and 54; 18.7% between 55 and 64; 18.1% between 65 and 74; 16.0% between 75 and 84; and 5.4% are 85 years of age or older.

• The age-adjusted incidence rate was 18.5 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are based on cases diagnosed in 2000–2004 from 17 NCI-selected geographic areas.

• From 2000–2004, the median age at death for melanoma of the skin was 67 years of age. Approximately 0.1% died under age 20; 2.9% between 20 and 34; 7.7% between 35 and 44; 15.4% between 45 and 54; 18.5% between 55 and 64; 21.6% between 65 and 74; 23.1% between 75 and 84; and 10.7% were 85 or older.

• The age-adjusted death rate was 2.6 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are based on patients who died in 2000–2004 in the United States.

• On January 1, 2004, in the United States there were approximately 690,021 men and women alive who had a history of melanoma of the skin (333,330 men and 356,691 women). This includes any person alive on January 1, 2004 who had been diagnosed with melanoma of the skin at any point prior to January 1, 2004 and includes persons with active disease and those who are cured of their disease.

• The overall 5-year relative survival rate for melanoma in the period between 1996–2003 from 17 NCI-selected geographic areas was 91.1%. Five-year relative survival rates by race and sex were: 88.7% for white men; 93.3% for white women; 69.9% for black men; 77.4% for black women.


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