Cutaneous malignant melanoma in children and adolescents in Sweden, 1993-2002: the increasing trend is broken

Int J Cancer. 2007 Jul 15;121(2):323-8. doi: 10.1002/ijc.22692.


The incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma rose rapidly in teenagers in Sweden during 1973-1992, while it remained low in younger children. To study the further trends and characteristics of melanoma in this young population, data on all cases in individuals under 20 years of age reported to the Swedish Cancer Registry during 1993-2002, and the corresponding pathology reports were examined. Seventy-nine cases were reported to the Registry. There were 24 males and 55 females. Most melanomas occurred on the trunk followed by the legs in both genders. The median tumor thickness was 0.8 mm. Children under age 15 had thicker melanomas than individuals aged 15-19. Superficial spreading melanoma was the most common histological subtype (43/78, 55%). The melanoma-specific 5-year survival rate was 90%. During 1993-2002, the age-standardized incidence fell to 3.6/million from 5.0/million in 1983-1992 (RR 0.74, 95% CI 0.58-0.92). The most pronounced decrease was for melanomas on the trunk in boys and on the legs in girls. The incidence for 15-19-year-old boys peaked for the cohort born between 1968 and 1972 and for girls between 1973 and 1977. The decrease in incidence may be a result of public health campaigns aiming at reducing sun exposure in childhood. A contributing effect from an increased immigration of individuals with darker complexions and at a lower melanoma risk is probable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Melanoma / epidemiology*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / prevention & control
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Survival Analysis
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects