How Has the Incidence of Melanomas in American Women Changed over Time?

The incidence of melanomas in American women between the ages of 15 and 39 more than doubled between 1980 and 2011. As of 2011, more than 800,000 Americans have had at least one melanoma, and about 408,000 of them are women. The number of women diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancers is increasing as well: basal cell carcinoma diagnoses in women more than doubled between 1980 and 2010, and diagnoses of squamous cell carcinoma in women 39 or younger increased 700 percent during the same time period.

More about melanomas:

  • Every year, about 30 million people in the U.S. do indoor tanning, an activity that is strongly associated with melanoma development. About 2.3 million of those people are teenagers. Those who do ultraviolet (UV) indoor tanning are almost 75 percent more likely to develop melanomas than those who do not tan indoors.

  • Though blacks, Latinos and people of Asian heritage are the least likely to get melanomas, when they do get melanomas, they are much more likely to die from them than Caucasians who have melanomas, possibly because of delayed diagnosis.

  • Caucasian men who are more than 50 years old are the most likely to have melanomas, but women 39 or younger are almost twice as likely as men to develop melanomas.
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