The vast majority of mutations found in melanoma are caused by ultraviolet radiation.
- The incidence of many common cancers is falling, but the incidence of melanoma continues to rise significantly, at a rate faster than that of any of the seven most common cancers.
- Approximately 68,720 melanomas will be diagnosed this year, with nearly 8,650 resulting in death.
- Melanoma accounts for about three percent of skin cancer cases,31 but it causes more than 75 percent of skin cancer deaths.
- Melanoma mortality increased by about 33 percent from 1975-90, but has remained relatively stable since 1990.
- Survival with melanoma increased from 49 percent between 1950 and 1954 to 92 percent between 1996 and 2003.
- More than 20 Americans die each day from skin cancer, primarily melanoma. One person dies of melanoma almost every hour (every 62 minutes).
- The survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early, before the tumor has penetrated the epidermis, is about 99 percent.
- The survival rate falls to 15 percent for those with advanced disease.
- Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer for males and sixth most common for females.
- Women aged 39 and under have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer except breast cancer.
- Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old.
- About 65 percent of melanoma cases can be attributed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
- One in 55 people will be diagnosed with melanoma during their lifetime.
- One blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person's chances of developing melanoma later in life.
- A person's risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns at any age.
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