The incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma has been increasing in Sweden for several decades. In the Stockholm-Gotland area educational activities for healthcare professionals were started in the late 1970s and public primary and secondary prevention campaigns were initiated in the mid-1980s. Melanoma incidence trends have been studied in Sweden, with special reference to trends in the Stockholm-Gotland area where these prevention campaigns were first started. During 1976-1994 the average annual increase of age-standardized incidence in the Stockholm-Gotland area was about 5%, the increase being associated mainly with thin tumors and melanoma in situ. During the 1990s, the incidence among males leveled off. In contrast, no such shift in trend was observed among females, or among males or females residing outside the Stockholm-Gotland area. The campaigns may have contributed to a trend towards earlier diagnosis but there is still no clear effect of the primary prevention efforts.