Skin cancer statistics

Cases

New cases of malignant melanoma, 2013, UK

Deaths

Deaths from malignant melanoma, 2014, UK

Survival

Survive malignant melanoma for 10 or more years, 2010-11, England and Wales

Prevention

Preventable cases of malignant melanoma, UK

  • There were around 14,500 new cases of malignant melanoma in the UK in 2013, that’s 40 cases diagnosed every day.
  • Malignant melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK (2013).
  • Malignant melanoma accounts for 4% of all new cases in the UK (2013).
  • In males in the UK, malignant melanoma is the seventh most common cancer, with around 7,200 cases diagnosed in 2013.
  • In females in the UK, malignant melanoma is the fifth most common cancer, with around 7,400 cases diagnosed in 2013.
  • Around half (49%) of malignant melanoma cases in the UK each year are diagnosed in people aged 65 and over (2011-2013).
  • Since the late 1970s, malignant melanoma incidence rates have more than quadrupled (360% increase) in Great Britain. The increase is larger in males where rates have increased more six-fold (544% increase), than in females where rates have more than tripled (263% increase).
  • Over the last decade, malignant melanoma incidence rates have increased by almost half (46%) in the UK, though this includes a larger increase in males (59%, around three-fifths) than females (36%, more than a third).
  • Most malignant melanoma cases are diagnosed at an early stage.
  • Most skin cancers occur in the trunk or legs.
  • 1 in 54 people will be diagnosed with malignant melanoma during their lifetime.
  • Skin cancer in England is less common in people living in the most deprived areas.
  • Skin cancer is most common in White people than Asian or Black people.
  • In the UK around 59,000 people were still alive at the end of 2006, up to ten years after being diagnosed with malignant melanoma.
  • There were around 72,100 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer in the UK in 2013, though this underestimates true incidence.
  • 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.

See more in-depth skin cancer incidence statistics

  • There were around 2,500 malignant melanoma deaths in the UK in 2014, that’s around 7 deaths every day.
  • Malignant melanoma is the 18th most common cause of cancer death in the UK (2014).
  • Malignant melanoma accounts for 2% of all cancer deaths in the UK (2014).
  • In males in the UK, malignant melanoma is the 16th most common cause of cancer death, with around 1,400 deaths in 2014.
  • In females in the UK, malignant melanoma is the 16th most common cause of cancer death, with around 1,000 deaths in 2014.
  • More than half (54%) of malignant melanoma deaths in the UK each year are in people aged 70 and over (2012-2014).
  • Mortality rates for malignant melanoma in the UK are highest in people aged 90+ (2012-2014).
  • Since the early 1970s, malignant melanoma mortality rates have increased by almost triple (156%) in the UK. The increase is larger in males (237%), than in females (89%).
  • Over the last decade, malignant melanoma mortality rates have increased by less than a fifth (15%) in the UK, with a larger increase in males (20%) than in females (8%).
  • Skin cancer deaths are less common in males living in the most deprived areas.
  • In Europe, around 22,200 people were estimated to have died from malignant melanoma in 2012. The UK mortality rate is 19th highest in Europe for males and 17th highest for females.
  • Worldwide, around 55,500 people were estimated to have died from malignant melanoma in 2012, with mortality rates varying across the world.
  • There were around 780 non-melanoma skin cancer deaths in the UK in 2014, that’s around 2 deaths every day.
  • Non-melanoma skin cancer accounts for less than 1% of all cancer deaths in the UK (2014).
  • In males in the UK, there were around 490 non-melanoma skin cancer deaths in 2014.
  • In females in the UK, there were around 290 non-melanoma skin cancer deaths in 2014.

See more in-depth skin cancer mortality statistics

  • 9 in 10 (90%) people diagnosed with malignant melanoma skin cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for ten years or more (2010-11).
  • 9 in 10 (90%) people diagnosed with malignant melanoma skin cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for five years or more (2010-11).
  • Nearly all (97%) people diagnosed with malignant melanoma skin cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for one year or more (2010-11).
  • Malignant melanoma skin cancer survival is higher in women than men.
  • 95% of people in England diagnosed with malignant melanoma skin cancer aged 15-39 survive their disease for five years or more, compared with more than 8 in 10 people diagnosed aged 80 and over (2009-2013).
  • Malignant melanoma skin cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the last 40 years in the UK.
  • In the 1970s, almost half of people diagnosed with malignant melanoma skin cancer survived their disease beyond ten years, now it's 9 in 10.
  • When diagnosed at its earliest stage, all people with malignant melanoma skin cancer will survive their disease for five years or more, compared with a quarter of women and less than a tenth of men when diagnosed at the latest stage.

See more in-depth skin cancer survival statistics

  • A person’s risk of developing cancer depends on many factors, including age, genetics, and exposure to risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle factors).
  • 86% (90% in males and 82% in females) of malignant melanoma skin cancer cases each year in the UK are linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors.
  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main potentially avoidable risk factor for skin cancer, linked to an estimated 86% of malignant melanoma cases in the UK.
  • UV radiation from sunbeds, ionising radiation, certain occupational exposures, and certain medical conditions and medications cause skin cancer.
  • Skin cancer risk varies with skin type, hair and eye colour, and number of moles.

See more in-depth skin cancer risk factors

  • 'Two-week wait' is the most common route to diagnosing malignant melanoma.
  • 'Two-week wait' is the route with the highest proportion of cases diagnosed at an early stage, for skin cancer.
  • ‘Two week wait’ standards are met by all countries and ’31 day wait’ and ’62 day wait’ are met by all but Northern Ireland, for skin cancer.
  • Most patients with malignant melanoma are treated with surgery.
  • Around 9 in 10 patients had a ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ patient experience.
  • More than 8 in 10 patients are given the name of their Clinical Nurse Specialist.

See more in-depth skin cancer diagnosis and treatment statistics

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The latest statistics available for skin cancer in the UK are; incidence 2013, mortality 2014 and survival 2010-2011 (all ages combined) and 2009-2013 (by age) (malignant melanoma only as survival data for non-melanoma skin cancer are not currently published).

The ICD code Open a glossary item for malignant melanoma of the skin is ICD-10 C43.

The ICD code for non-melanoma skin cancer is ICD-10 C44.

Malignant melanoma of the skin is less common than non-melanoma skin cancer, but is the most serious type of skin cancer. Melanomas can occur in other body organs, such as the eye, but such data are not shown here. On these pages "malignant melanoma" refers to malignant melanoma of the skin only.

European Age-Standardised Rates were calculated using the 1976 European Standard Population (ESP) unless otherwise stated as calculated with ESP2013. ASRs calculated with ESP2013 are not comparable with ASRs calculated with ESP1976.

Lifetime risk estimates were calculated using incidence, mortality, population and all-cause mortality data for 2012.

Survival statistics give an overall picture of survival and (unless otherwise stated) include all adults (15-99) diagnosed, at all ages, stages Open a glossary item and co-morbidities The survival time experienced by an individual patient may be much higher or lower, depending on specific patient and tumour characteristics.

Meta-analyses Open a glossary item and systematic reviews Open a glossary item are cited where available, as they provide the best overview of all available research and most take study quality into account. Individual case-control and cohort studies Open a glossary item are reported where such aggregated data are lacking.

Routes to diagnosis statistics were calculated from cases of cancer registered in England which were diagnosed in 2012-2013. Staging proportions only include patients with a known stage (cases with an unknown stage at diagnosis are not included in the denominator).

Cancer waiting times statistics are for patients who entered the health care system within financial year 2014-15. Skin cancer is part of the group 'Skin cancer' for cancer waiting times data. Codes vary per country but broadly include: malignant melanoma of the skin, non-melanoma skin cancer and secondary malignant melanoma of the skin.

Patient Experience data is for adult patients in England with a primary diagnosis of cancer, who were in active treatment between September and November 2013 and who completed a survey in 2014.

Deprivation gradient statistics were calculated using incidence data for three time periods: 1996-2000, 2001-2005 and 2006-2010 and for mortality for two time periods: 2002-2006 and 2007-2011. The 1997-2001 mortality data were only used for the all cancers combined group as this time period includes the change in coding from ICD-9 to ICD-10. The deprivation quintiles were calculated using the Income domain scores from the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) from the following years: 2004, 2007 and 2010. Full details on the data and methodology can be found in the Cancer by Deprivation in England NCIN report.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the essential work of the cancer registries in the United Kingdom and Ireland Association of Cancer Registries, without which there would be no data. 

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