Melanoma facts and statistics

Australia has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world, and melanoma is often referred to as 'Australia's national cancer'. 

  • Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world with one person diagnosed with the disease every 30 minutes. 
  • Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer. It is estimated 1300 people will die from melanoma in Australia this year. 
  • Melanoma is the most common cancer affecting 15 to 39-year-old Australians
  • Melanoma is the third most common cancer in Australian men, after prostate and colorectal cancer
  • Melanoma is the third most common cancer in Australian women, after breast and colorectal cancer


Research is making a difference

  • Over the past five years, the use of surgery plus additional treatments has significantly extended life expectancy in people with advanced disease (where the melanoma has spread to other organs). These treatments include targeted therapies (modifying the actions of specific genes) and immunotherapies (modifying the actions of the immune system). Radiotherapy can also reduce recurrence rates.
  • In a recent MIA-led trial, researchers have made a major breakthrough by tripling the life expectancy for some advanced melanoma patients. However many others are not responding to new treatments and further research is vital.