Melanoma Coverage from Every Angle

Trends in U.S. Melanoma Incidence Rates Seem to Differ by Age Group

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Thursday, January 2, 2020

The rates of invasive melanoma in the United States have seemingly decreased in both adolescents and young adults, despite an increase among older adults as well as the overall population, according to population-based research published in JAMA Dermatology. The study analyzed disease occurrence rates using the National Program of Cancer Registries–Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results U.S. Cancer Statistics database.

“These incidence trends suggest that public health efforts may be favorably influencing melanoma incidence in the United States,” concluded Kelly G. Paulson, MD, PhD, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues.

Between July 1, 2018, and March 1, 2019, researchers analyzed the incidence rates of melanoma from 2006 to 2015, the most recent decade for which data were available in the national database. During this time, the rate of disease occurrence in both adolescents (10–19 years) and young adults (20–29 years) declined significantly. Adolescents saw the largest decrease, with an annual percentage change of –4.4% for boys and –5.4% for girls. Within the young-adult population, the annual percentage change was–-3.7% for men and –3.6% for women. Despite these declining numbers, the risk of melanoma for young adult women appeared to be double that for young adult men.

In contrast, the overall rate of disease occurrence rose from 200.1 cases per million person-years in 2006 to 229.1 cases per million person-years in 2015, with adults at least 40 years of age also seeing an overall rate increase. Both men and women in that age range experienced an annual percentage change of 1.8%. Though no data were available regarding skin pigmentation or sun-protection measures, “similar trends were observed with data limited to non-Hispanic whites.”

“These data provide an impetus to further improve multimodal efforts aimed at reducing the burden of melanoma and encourage ongoing [ultraviolet] exposure protection efforts throughout the lifetime of individuals,” the investigators concluded.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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