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

Skin cancer survival statistics

One-, five- and ten-year survival statistics for malignant melanoma of the skin (cutaneous) by age and trends over time are presented here. There are also data by stage at diagnosis and geography.

Survival data is not currently published for non-melanoma skin cancer and is therefore not shown.

Find out more about the counting and coding of this data.

 

One-, five- and ten-year survival

97% of men survive malignant melanoma for at least one year, and this is predicted to fall to 88% surviving for five years or more, as shown by age-standardised net survival for patients diagnosed with malignant melanoma during 2010-2011 in England and Wales (Table 3.1).1 Survival for women is slightly higher, with 98% surviving for one year or more, and 92% predicted to survive for at least five years.

Table 3.1: Malignant Melanoma (C43), Age-Standardised One-, Five- and Ten-Year Age-Standardised Net Survival, Adults (Aged 15-99), England and Wales, 2010-2011

1-Year Survival (%) 5-Year Survival (%) 10-Year Survival (%)
Men Net Survival 96.5 87.6 86.0
95% LCL 96.5 87.5 86.0
95% UCL 96.5 87.6 86.0
Women Net Survival 97.9 92.4 92.1
95% LCL 97.9 92.4 92.1
95% UCL 97.9 92.4 92.1
Adults Net Survival 97.3 90.4 89.5
95% LCL 97.3 90.4 89.5
95% UCL 97.3 90.4 89.5

Download this table XLS (32KB) PPT (138KB) PDF (26KB)

95% LCL and 95% UCL are the 95% lower and upper confidence limits
Five- and ten-year survival is predicted using an excess hazard statistical model

Malignant melanoma survival falls only slightly beyond five years after diagnosis for men, and does not continue to fall beyond five years for women, which means most patients can be considered cured after five years. 86% of men and 92% of women are predicted to survive their disease for ten years or more, as shown by age-standardised net survival for patients diagnosed with malignant melanoma during 2010-2011 in England and Wales (Figure 3.1).1 Out of 20 common cancers in England and Wales, ten-year survival for malignant melanoma ranks 2nd highest overall.

Figure 3.1: Malignant Melanoma (C43), Net Survival up to Ten Years after Diagnosis, Adults (Aged 15-99), England and Wales, 2010-2011

surv_curve_mmelanoma.swf

Download this chart XLS (45KB) PPT (125KB) PDF (72KB)

Survival for malignant melanoma is reported in Scotland and Northern Ireland,2,3 though it is difficult to make survival comparisons between countries due to different methodologies and criteria for including patients in analyses.

section reviewed 09/12/14
section updated 09/12/14

 

By age

Five-year survival for malignant melanoma is highest in the youngest men and women and generally decreases with increasing age. Five-year net survival in men ranges from 91% in 15-39 year-olds to 70% in 80-99 year-olds for patients diagnosed with malignant melanoma in England during 2007-2011 (Figure 3.2).4 In women, five-year survival ranges from 97% to 80% in the same age groups.

Figure 3.2: Malignant Melanoma (C43), Five-Year Net Survival by Age, England 2007-2011

surv_5yr_age_mmelanoma.swf

Download this chart XLS (44KB) PPT (125KB) PDF (44KB)

section reviewed 09/12/14
section updated 09/12/14

 

Trends over time

As with most cancers, survival for malignant melanoma is improving. One-year age-standardised net survival for malignant melanoma in men has increased from 75% during 1971-1972 to 97% during 2010-2011 in England and Wales – an absolute survival difference of 22 percentage points (Figure 3.3).1 In women, one-year survival has increased from 87% to 98% over the same time period (a difference of 11 percentage points). Part of the increase in both sexes will be due to increased awareness and earlier diagnosis of the disease as a result of public heath campaigns such as SunSmart; likewise, several studies have reported increasing proportions of thin, early stage tumours in recent years.5,6,7

Figure 3.3: Malignant Melanoma (C43), Age-Standardised One-Year Net Survival, Adults (Aged 15-99), England and Wales, 1971-2011

surv_1yr_mmelanoma.swf

Download this chart XLS (47KB) PPT (127KB) PDF (54KB)

Five- and ten-year survival has increased by an even greater amount than one-year survival since the early 1970s. Five-year age-standardised net survival for malignant melanoma in men has increased from 40% during 1971-1972 to a predicted survival of 88% during 2010-2011 in England and Wales – an absolute survival difference of 47 percentage points (Figure 3.4).1 In women, five-year survival has increased from 61% to 92% over the same time period (a difference of 32 percentage points).

Figure 3.4: Malignant Melanoma (C43), Age-Standardised Five-Year Net Survival, Adults (Aged 15-99), England and Wales, 1971-2011

surv_5yr_mmelanoma.swf

Download this chart XLS (47KB) PPT (127KB) PDF (54KB)

Five-year survival for 2010-2011 is predicted using an excess hazard statistical model

Ten-year age-standardised net survival for malignant melanoma in men has increased from 35% during 1971-1972 to a predicted survival of 86% during 2010-2011 in England and Wales - an absolute survival difference of 51 percentage points (Figure 3.5).1 In women, ten-year survival has increased from 55% to 92% over the same time period (a difference of 38 percentage points). Overall, 9 in 10 people diagnosed with malignant melanoma today are predicted to survive their disease for at least ten years.

Figure 3.5: Malignant Melanoma (C43), Age-Standardised Ten-Year Net Survival, Adults (Aged 15-99), England and Wales, 1971-2011

surv_10yr_mmelanoma.swf

Download this chart XLS (57KB) PPT (136KB) PDF (335KB)

Ten-year survival for 2005-2006 and 2010-2011 is predicted using an excess hazard statistical model

section reviewed 09/12/14
section updated 09/12/14

Survival for malignant melanoma is related to stage of the disease at diagnosis. The majority of patients are diagnosed at Stages I or II.

One-year relative survival for malignant melanoma is more than 100% at Stage I for both men and women (which means survival is slightly better than that of the general population) for patients diagnosed during 2006-2010 in the former Anglia Cancer Network (Figure 3.6).8 One-year survival is lowest for those diagnosed with Stage IV disease (10% for men and 35% for women). As very few patients are diagnosed at Stage IV, the one-year survival statistics have wide confidence limits and should therefore be interpreted with caution.

Figure 3.6 Malignant Melanoma (C43), One-Year Relative Survival by Stage, Adults (Aged 15-99 Years), Former Anglia Cancer Network, 2006-2010

surv_1yr_stage_mmelanoma.swf

Download this chart XLS (55KB) PPT (128KB) PDF (50KB)

Relative survival can be greater than 100% because it accounts for background mortality and means that people diagnosed have a better chance of surviving after diagnosis than the general population.

Five-year survival for malignant melanoma shows a much more gradual decrease in survival between Stages I and IV. In men, five-year relative survival ranges from more than 100% at Stage I to 8% at Stage IV for patients diagnosed during 2002-2006 in the former Anglia Cancer Network (Figure 3.7).8 In women, five-year survival ranges from 100% at Stage I to 25% at Stage IV.

Figure 3.7 Malignant Melanoma (C43), Five-Year Relative Survival by Stage, Adults (Aged 15-99 Years), Former Anglia Cancer Network, 2002-2006

surv_1yr_stage_mmelanoma.swf

Download this chart XLS (55KB) PPT (134KB) PDF (44KB)

Relative survival can be greater than 100% because it accounts for background mortality and means that people diagnosed have a better chance of surviving after diagnosis than the general population.

There are no significant differences between men and women at any of the stages for both one- and five-year relative survival for malignant melanoma.

section reviewed 09/12/14
section updated 09/12/14

 

In Europe

EUROCARE (European Cancer Registry-based study on survival and care of cancer patients) is a series of cancer registry-based comparisons of cancer survival by country in Europe.9 Whilst the studies have some unavoidable limitations and the survival statistics should be viewed with some caution,10,11,12,13 EUROCARE is the largest co-ordinated effort at providing comparative survival statistics across Europe.

The most recent study in the series, EUROCARE-4, used data collected from 82 cancer registries in 23 European countries for the analysis of 2.7 million adult cancer patients diagnosed in the period 1995-1999.14,15

Malignant melanoma is one of the few cancers in which five-year relative survival in England is significantly higher than the European average. The study showed considerable variation within the UK, however, with significantly lower five-year survival in Wales (74%) compared with England, Scotland and Northern Ireland (85%, 89% and 93%, respectively).14,15 Such comparatively low survival in Wales may be explained by differences in stage at diagnosis, particularly among the more deprived men and women who seem to fare worse compared with their UK counterparts.16 Differences in public awareness and early diagnosis initiatives may also play a role.

It has been estimated that around 930 deaths could be avoided within five years of diagnosis if malignant melanoma survival in Britain equalled the best in Europe.17

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

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

 

References for skin cancer survival

  1. Cancer Research UK Cancer Survival Group, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Personal communication, 2014.
  2. ISD Scotland. Trends in Cancer Survival 1983-2007.
  3. Northern Ireland Cancer Registry. Incidence & Survival 1993-2012.
  4. Office for National Statistics. Statistical Bulletin: Cancer survival in England: Patients diagnosed 2007-2011 and followed up to 2012. Newport: ONS; 2013.
  5. MacKie RM, Bray CA, Hole DJ, et al. Incidence of and survival from malignant melanoma in Scotland: an epidemiological study. Lancet 2002; 360:587-91.
  6. Downing A, Newton-Bishop JA, Forman D. Recent trends in cutaneous malignant melanoma in the Yorkshire region of England; incidence, mortality and survival in relation to stage of disease, 1993-2003. Br J Cancer 2006; 95:91-5.
  7. Murray CS, Stockton DL, Doherty VR. Thick melanoma: the challenge persists. Br J Dermatol 2005; 152:104-9.
  8. The National Cancer Registration Service, Eastern Office. Personal communication.
  9. Istituto Superiore di Sanità. EUROCARE: Survival of Cancer Patients in Europe. Rome, Italy: Istituto Superiore di Sanità. Available from http://www.eurocare.it/
  10. Berrino F. The EUROCARE Study: strengths, limitations and perspectives of population-based, comparative survival studies. Ann Oncol 2003; 14 Suppl 5:v9-13.
  11. Anderson WJ, Murtagh C. Cancer survival statistics should be viewed with caution. Lancet Oncol 2007; 8:1052-3; author reply 1053-4.
  12. Autier P, Boniol M, Hery C, et al. Cancer survival statistics should be viewed with caution. Lancet Oncol 2007; 8:1050-2; author reply 1053-4.
  13. Cancer Research UK science blog. Controversy over European cancer statistics.
  14. Berrino F, De Angelis R, Sant M, et al. Survival for eight major cancers and all cancers combined for European adults diagnosed in 1995-99: results of the EUROCARE-4 study. Lancet Oncol 2007;8:773-83.
  15. Sant M, Allemani C, Santaquilani M, et al. EUROCARE-4. Survival of cancer patients diagnosed in 1995-1999. Results and commentary. Eur J Cancer 2009;45:931-91.
  16. Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit. Investigating the low survival for malignant melanoma of skin and cervical cancer in Wales. Cardiff: WCISU; 2011.
  17. Abdel-Rahman M, Stockton D, Rachet B, et al. What if cancer survival in Britain were the same as in Europe: how many deaths are avoidable? Br J Cancer 2009;101:S115-S24.
Updated: 9 December 2014