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Melanoma skin cancer in Australia

Melanoma skin cancer incorporates ICD-10 cancer code C43 (Malignant neoplasm of skin).


Estimated number of new cases of melanoma skin cancer diagnosed in 2017

13,941 = Male icon PNG 8,392 males + Female icon PNG 5,549 females


melanoma skin cancer % of all new cancer cases PNG

Estimated % of all new cancer cases diagnosed in 2017

10.4%


Estimated number of deaths from melanoma skin cancer in 2017

1,839 = Male icon PNG1,280 males + Female icon PNG559 females


melanoma skin cancer % of all new cancer cases PNG

Estimated % of all deaths from cancer in 2017

3.9%


90 in 100 PNG

Chance of surviving at least 5 years (2009–2013)

90%


crowd icon

People living with melanoma skin cancer at the end of 2012 (diagnosed in the 5 year period 2008 to 2012)

51,697


New cases of melanoma skin cancer

Melanoma skin cancer was the 4th most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia in 2013. It is estimated that it will remain the 4th most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2017 (Table 1).

In 2013, there were 12,744 new cases of melanoma skin cancer diagnosed in Australia (7,513 males and 5,232 females). In 2017, it is estimated that 13,941 new cases of melanoma skin cancer will be diagnosed in Australia (8,392 males and 5,549 females).

In 2013, the age–standardised incidence rate was 50 cases per 100,000 persons (62 for males and 40 for females). In 2017, it is estimated that the age–standardised incidence rate will be 50 cases per 100,000 persons (62 for males and 39 for females). The incidence rate of melanoma skin cancer will generally increase with age (Figure 1).

In 2017, it is estimated that the risk of an individual being diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer by their 85th birthday will be 1 in 17 (1 in 13 males and 1 in 23 females).

The number of new cases of melanoma skin cancer diagnosed increased from 3,527 (1,733 males and 1,794 females) in 1982 to 12,744 in 2013. Over the same period, the age–standardised incidence rate increased from 27 cases per 100,000 persons (28 for males and 26 for females) in 1982 to 50 cases per 100,000 persons in 2013 (Figure 2).

Table 1: Estimated most common cancers diagnosed in 2017
Cancer type New cases 2017 % of all new cancers 2017
Breast 17,730 13.2
Breast (among females) 17,586 28.4
Colorectal (bowel) 16,682 12.4
Prostate (among males) 16,665 23.1
Melanoma 13,941 10.4
Lung 12,434 9.3

Deaths from melanoma skin cancer

In 2014, melanoma skin cancer was the 10th leading cause of cancer deaths in Australia. It is estimated that it will become the 8th most common cause of death from cancer in 2017.

In 2014, there were 1,467 deaths from melanoma skin cancer in Australia (988 males and 479 females). In 2017, it is estimated that this will increase to 1,839 deaths (1,280 males and 559 females).

In 2014, the age–standardised mortality rate was 5.5 deaths per 100,000 persons (8.1 for males and 3.3 for females). In 2017, it is estimated that the age–standardised mortality rate will increase to 6.3 deaths per 100,000 persons (9.5 for males and 3.6 for females). The mortality rate of melanoma skin cancer will generally increase with age (Figure 1).

In 2017, it is estimated that the risk of an individual dying from melanoma skin cancer by their 85th birthday will be 1 in 119 (1 in 77 males and 1 in 227 females).

The number of deaths from melanoma skin cancer increased from 315 (178 males and 137 females) in 1968 to 1,467 in 2014. Over the same period, the age–standardised mortality rate increased from 3.3 deaths per 100,000 persons (3.9 for males and 2.8 for females) in 1968 to 5.5 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2014 (Figure 2).

Figure 1: Estimated age-specific incidence and mortality rates for melanoma skin cancer, by sex, 2017

bar graph showing the estimated number of new cases of melanoma skin cancer diagnosed in 2016, by five year age groups (0-4 to 85+). The age-specific incidence rate for each five year age group is expressed as the estimated number of new cases of melanoma skin cancer diagnosed per 100,000 persons, which is presented on the y-axis. The estimated incidence rate of melanoma skin cancer generally increases across the age groups, with persons aged 0-4 years having an estimated diagnosis rate of 0.1 cases per 100,000 persons, while persons aged 85+ have an estimated diagnosis rate of 235.9 cases per 100,000 persons.

Source: AIHW [1].

Figure 2: Age-standardised incidence rates for melanoma skin cancer 1982–2013 and age-standardised mortality rates for melanoma skin cancer 1968–2014, by sex

line graph with two lines showing actual incidence and mortality rates for melanoma skin cancer. One line of the graph shows actual incidence rates for melanoma skin cancer from 1982 to 2012. The other line shows actual mortality rates for melanoma skin cancer from 1968 to 2013. The age-standardised incidence and mortality rate for each year is expressed as the number of new cases or number of deaths per 100,000 persons and presented on the y-axis. The incidence rate for melanoma skin cancer increased from 26.6 cases per 100,000 persons in 1982 to 48.7 cases per 100,000 persons in 2012. The mortality rate for melanoma skin cancer increased from 3.3 deaths per 100,000 persons in 1968 to 6.2 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2013.

Source: AIHW [2].

Survival from melanoma skin cancer

In 2009–2013, individuals diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer had a 90% chance (88% for males and 93% for females) of surviving for 5 years compared to their counterparts in the general Australian population.

Between 1984–1988 and 2009–2013, 5-year relative survival from melanoma skin cancer improved from 86% to 90%.

Figure 3: 5-year relative survival from melanoma skin cancer, by sex, 1984–1988 to 2009–2013

 bar chart showing five year relative survival from melanoma skin cancer in five year periods, starting from 1983-1987 and ending in 2008-2012. The percentage of survival is presented on the y-axis. In 1983-1987, 5 year relative survival was 85.7%. This increased to 90.4% in 2008-2012.

Source: AIHW [1].

Survivorship population for melanoma skin cancer

The survivorship population is measured using prevalence data. Prevalence refers to the number of people alive who have previously been diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer.

The prevalence for 1, 5 and 31 years given below are the number of people living with melanoma skin cancer at the end of 2012 who had been diagnosed in the preceding 1, 5 and 31 years respectively.

At the end of 2012, there were 11,960 people living who had been diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer that year, 51,697 people living who had been diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer in the previous 5 years (from 2008 to 2012) and 169,292 people living who had been diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer in the previous 31 years (from 1982 to 2012).


Data notes

International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems Version 10 (ICD–10)

Cancer is classified by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems Version 10 (ICD–10). This is a statistical classification, published by the World Health Organization, in which each morbid condition is assigned a unique code according to established criteria.

Estimations

Future estimations for incidence and mortality are a mathematical extrapolation of past trends. They assume that the most recent trends will continue into the future, and are intended to illustrate future changes that might reasonably be expected to occur if the stated assumptions continue to apply over the estimated period. Actual future cancer incidence and mortality rates may vary from these estimations. For instance, new screening programs may increase the detection of new cancer cases; new vaccination programs may decrease the risk of developing cancer; and improvements in treatment options may decrease mortality rates.

Incidence

Cancer incidence indicates the number of new cancers diagnosed during a specified time period (usually one year).

The 2013 national incidence counts include estimates for NSW because the actual data were not available. Note that actual data for the Australian Capital Territory do not include cases identified from death certificates.

The 2017 estimates are based on 2004–13 incidence data. Due to rounding of these estimates, male and female incidence may not sum to person incidence.

Mortality

Cancer mortality refers to the number of deaths occurring during a specified time period (usually one year) for which the underlying cause of death is cancer.

The 2017 estimates are based on mortality data up to 2013. Joinpoint analysis was used on the longest time series of age–standardised rates available to determine the starting year of the most recent trend.

Prevalence

Prevalence of cancer refers to the number of people alive with a prior diagnosis of cancer at a given time. It is distinct from incidence, which is the number of new cancers diagnosed within a given period of time. The longest period for which it is possible to calculate prevalence using the available national data (from 1982 to 2012) is currently 31 years so this is used to provide an estimate of the ‘total’ prevalence of cancer as at the end of 2012, noting that people diagnosed with cancer before 1982 aren’t included.

Age standardised rates

Incidence and mortality rates expressed per 100,000 population are age–standardised to the Australian population as at 30 June 2001.


References

  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality (ACIM) books: Melanoma of the skin. Canberra: AIHW. www.aihw.gov.au/acim–books [Accessed February 2017].
  2. AIHW 2017. Cancer in Australia 2017. Cancer series no. 101. Cat. No. CAN 100. Canberra: AIHW.