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Global melanoma incidence may increase 50% by 2040

Nodular melanoma. Photo by DermNetNZ via Wikimedia Commons

The rate of cutaneous melanoma remained high in 2020 and is expected to increase significantly by 2040, according to a new epidemiologic study.

Published in JAMA Dermatology (March 30, 2022), the authors of this study used data from the GLOBOCAN 2020 database to estimate the global number of new cases and deaths due to invasive melanoma in 2020 and in the future.

Based on the data, the authors estimated a worldwide total of 325,000 new melanoma cases (174,000 males, 151,000 females) and 57,000 deaths (32,000 males, 25,000 females) for 2020.

They write that there were large geographic variations across countries and world regions.

The highest incidence rates among men and women were observed in the Australia/New Zealand area. Western Europe, North America and Northern Europe were the areas with the next highest incidence rates.

In 2020, melanoma remained rare in most African and Asian countries, with incidence rates commonly less than 1 per 100,000 person-years.

While mortality rates peaked in New Zealand (five per 100,000 person-years), there was less observed geographic variation with mortality than with incidence.

Based on the 2020 data, the authors projected future melanoma burden, writing: “If 2020 rates continue, the burden from melanoma is estimated to increase to 510,000 new cases (a roughly 50% increase) and to 96,000 deaths (a 68% increase) by 2040.”

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