Cancer Research UK on Google+ Cancer Research UK on Facebook Cancer Research UK on Twitter
 

Skin cancer Key Facts

Skin Stats DoughnutKey messages on incidence, survival, mortality, risk factors (causes) and a summary table of the statistics for skin cancer are given here. Also discussed is sunbed use. 

More comprehensive information and statistics for skin cancer is here: incidence, survival, mortality, risk factors (causes), diagnosis and treatment, and sunbed use

The latest statistics available for skin cancer are: incidence 2011, mortality 2012, and survival 2005-2009. Source years are specified in the statistics table. Find out why these are the latest statistics available.

About skin cancer

  • There are two types of skin cancer: malignant melanoma, which is less common but more serious; and non-melanoma skin cancer, which is very common but not so serious. 
  • Malignant melanoma on its own can sometimes be referred to as ‘skin cancer’.
  • There are two main subtypes of non-melanoma skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). There are also a number of much rarer non-melanoma skin cancer subtypes.
  • There is known under-recording of non-melanoma skin cancer incidence, partly because many cases are treated in primary care or privately and so are not notified to the cancer registries, and partly because most cancer registries record only the first diagnosis of BCC or SCC.
  • Since non-melanoma skin cancer registrations are known to be incomplete, they are usually excluded from incidence totals for all cancers combined.

section reviewed 22/07/13
section updated 22/07/13

 

How common is skin cancer?

  • Around 13,300 cases of malignant melanoma were diagnosed in 2011 in the UK, that’s 37 people every day.
  • Like most cancers, skin cancer is more common with increasing age, but malignant melanoma rates are disproportionately high in younger people. More than one-third of all cases of malignant melanoma occur in people aged under 55.
  • More than two young adults (aged 15-34) are diagnosed with malignant melanoma every day in the UK, and it is the second most common cancer in this age group.
  • Malignant melanoma is almost twice as common in young women (up to age 34) as in young men, but more men die from it.
  • Over the last thirty years, rates of malignant melanoma in Great Britain have risen faster than any of the current ten most common cancers.
  • Malignant melanoma incidence rates have increased more than fivefold since the mid 1970s.
  • In the UK, people aged 65 and over are more likely to be diagnosed with late stage malignant melanoma than younger people.
  • The most common site for men to develop a malignant melanoma is on the chest or back. For women it is on the legs.
  • People from the most affluent areas are more likely to be diagnosed with malignant melanoma than those from the more deprived areas.
  • Around two-thirds of malignant melanoma cases are diagnosed at the earliest stage.
  • In Europe, more than 100,000 new cases of malignant melanoma were estimated to have been diagnosed in 2012. The UK incidence rate is ninth highest in Europe for males and seventh highest for females.
  • Worldwide, around 232,000 people were estimated to have been diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2012, with incidence rates varying across the world.
  • More than 102,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer were registered in 2011 in the UK; registration is incomplete, however, with an estimated 30-50% of BCC and around 30% of SCC going unrecorded.
  • Around three-quarters of non-melanoma skin cancer registrations are BCC and less than a quarter are SCC.

Read more in-depth skin cancer incidence statistics.

section reviewed 11/06/14
section updated 11/06/14

 

How many people survive skin cancer?

Read more in-depth skin cancer survival statistics.

section reviewed 22/07/13
section updated 22/07/13

 

How many people die from skin cancer?

Read more in-depth skin cancer mortality statistics.

section reviewed 08/09/14
section updated 08/09/14

 

What causes skin cancer?


Read more in-depth skin cancer risk factors

section reviewed 22/07/13
section updated 22/07/13

Skin cancer statistics table

SKIN CANCER STATISTICS Males Females Persons Country Year4
Number of new cases of malignant melanoma per year 6,495 6,853 13,348 UK 2011
Incidence rate of malignant melanoma per 100,000 population1 17.5 17.6 17.4
Number of deaths from malignant melanoma per year 1,243 905 2,148 UK 2012
Mortality rate of malignant melanoma per 100,000 population1 3.1 1.9 2.5
Number of new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) per year2 57,800 44,828 102,628 UK 2011
Incidence rate of NMSC per 100,000 population2 141.6 92.0 113.7
Number of deaths from NMSC per year 395 243 638 UK 2012
Mortality rate of NMSC per 100,000 population1 0.9 0.3 0.6
One-year survival rate - malignant melanoma3 95.7% 97.7% 96.8% England 2005-2009
Five-year survival rate - malignant melanoma3 83.6% 91.6% 88.2%
Ten-year survival rate - malignant melanoma3 79.7% 90.1% - England & Wales 2009
(predicted)

1. European age-standardised    2. Registration of NMSC is known to be incomplete    3. Adults diagnosed    4. Latest statistics available

More detailed skin cancer statistics can be found using these links: incidence, survival, mortality, risk factors, diagnosis and treatment, and sunbed use.

section reviewed 08/09/14
section updated 08/09/14

No Error

Rate this page:
Submit rating
Rate this page
Rate this page for no comments box
Please enter feedback to continue submitting
Send feedback
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team

Visit our A-Z topic pages

Updated: 8 September 2014