Background: Melanoma incidence rates have continued to increase in the United States, and risk behaviors remain high. Melanoma is responsible for the most skin cancer deaths, with about 9,000 persons dying from it each year.
Methods: CDC analyzed current (2011) melanoma incidence and mortality data, and projected melanoma incidence, mortality, and the cost of treating newly diagnosed melanomas through 2030. Finally, CDC estimated the potential melanoma cases and costs averted through 2030 if a comprehensive skin cancer prevention program was implemented in the United States.
Results: In 2011, the melanoma incidence rate was 19.7 per 100,000, and the death rate was 2.7 per 100,000. Incidence rates are projected to increase for white males and females through 2019. Death rates are projected to remain stable. The annual cost of treating newly diagnosed melanomas was estimated to increase from $457 million in 2011 to $1.6 billion in 2030. Implementation of a comprehensive skin cancer prevention program was estimated to avert 230,000 melanoma cases and $2.7 billion in initial year treatment costs from 2020 through 2030.
Conclusions: If additional prevention efforts are not undertaken, the number of melanoma cases is projected to increase over the next 15 years, with accompanying increases in health care costs. Much of this morbidity, mortality, and health care cost can be prevented.
Implications for public health practice: Substantial reductions in melanoma incidence, mortality, and cost can be achieved if evidence-based comprehensive interventions that reduce ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure and increase sun protection are fully implemented and sustained.