Melanoma facts and statistics
Australia has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world, and
At a glance
- Melanoma is the third most common cancer in Australian men, after prostate and bowel cancer, and it accounted for 12% of all new cancers diagnosed in 2017 (estimated).
- Melanoma is the third most common cancer in Australian women, after breast and bowel cancer, and it accounted for 9% of all new cancers diagnosed in 2017 (estimated).
- Almost 14,000 Australians
are expectedto be diagnosedwith melanoma in 2017.
- Melanoma represents 2% of all skin cancers, but causes 75% of skin cancer deaths.
- The good news is that if melanoma
is identifiedat an early stage, simple treatment can result ina complete cure.
Melanoma is Australia’s national cancer
- Australia and New Zealand have the highest melanoma rates in the world with Queensland incidence rate of 71 cases per 100,000 people (for the years 2009-2013),
vastlyexceeding rates in all other jurisdictions nationally and internationally. More than12,700 cases of melanoma were reportedin 2013 in Australia.
- 48,937 are living with melanoma (at the end of 2010).
- Melanoma rates doubled in the 20 years from 1986 to 2006 and are still on the rise.
- In Australia, 1 in 14 men and 1 in 24 women will
be diagnosedwith melanoma sometimein their life.
A deadly cancer in young Australians
- Melanoma is the most common cancer in young Australians (15–39-year-olds) making up 20% of all their cancer cases.
It is estimatedthat 2,500 Australians aged 25– 49 years will be diagnosedwith melanoma in 2017.
- Melanoma kills more young Australians than any other single cancer.
- Incidence in people over 60 is also very high and increasing.
Melanoma can kill you
More than1,400 Australians died from melanoma in 2014.
- In 2017,
more than1,800 Australians are expectedto die from melanoma: that is five people each day.
- One person every five hours will die from melanoma in Australia.
- While 90% of people with melanoma
are able to be curedby having the primary melanoma removed through surgery, in the other 10% of cases, life-threatening spread will have already occurred.
- There is a 90% chance of surviving at least 5 years with melanoma.
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 (
modifyingthe actions of specific genes) and immunotherapies ( modifyingthe actions of the immune system). Radiotherapy can also reduce recurrence rates.
- In a recent MIA-led trial, researchers have made a
majorbreakthrough by tripling the life expectancy for some advanced melanoma patients. However many others are not responding to new treatments and further research is vital.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. Cancer in Australia 2017. Cancer series no. 101. Cat. no. CAN 100. Canberra: AIHW.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2016. Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality (ACIM) books: melanoma skin cancer. Canberra: AIHW. [Accessed January 2016].