Melanoma cases were almost 10 times higher in high Human Development Index countries than in low.
In a population-based study, global patterns of malignant melanoma in 2020 indicated approximately 325,000 cases worldwide.1 Researchers projected that if 2020 patterns continue, a 50% increase in melanoma cases will occur by 2040.
Using the GLOBOCAN 2020 database for worldwide epidemiological evaluation of new cases and deaths caused by invasive melanoma, Arnold et al found an estimated 325,000 individuals were diagnosed with melanoma, and approximately 57,000 died due to the disease. Of the newly diagnosed cases in 2020, the majority (79.7%) were in individuals over age 50, and of all the deaths due to melanoma, 87.7% were in individuals over age 50.
The highest rates of melanoma were in Australia/New Zealand, with males exhibiting an incident rate of 42 per 100,000 person-years and females exhibiting an incident rate of 31 per 100,000 person-years. These were followed by Western Europe (19 per 100,000 person-years for males and females), North America (18 per 100,000 person-years for males and 14 per 100,000 person-years for females), and Northern Europe (17 per 100,000 person-years for males and 18 per 100,000 person-years for females). The lowest incidence rates of melanoma were in regions of Africa and Asia with rates of fewer than 1 per 100,000 person-years.
Examining world regions, almost half the cases of melanoma (46.4%) were in Europe, followed by North America (32.4%). Central and Eastern Europeans experienced more melanoma deaths (16.3%) followed by North America (14.7%) and Western Europe (13%). Although 5.9% of all melanoma cases were in Oceania, melanoma deaths in that region only accounted for 3.4% of global deaths. Asia accounted for 7.3% of all cases but 21% of deaths, and Africa had 2.1% of cases but 4.7% of global melanoma deaths.
Melanoma cases were more common in high Human Development Index (HDI) countries, with cases in those countries almost 10 times as high as in low HDI countries, accounting for 85.6% of all cases. Mortality rates were 3 to 5 times higher in high HDI countries than in low HDI countries, making up 67.2% of melanoma deaths. Across most parts of the world, melanoma rates were higher in males than in females.
Authors projected that “The number of newly diagnosed cases of melanoma was estimated to increase by more than 50% by 2040, to 510,000. Similarly, melanoma deaths were estimated to increase by approximately 68%, from 57,000 in 2020 to 96,000 in 2040, assuming rates in 2020 remained stable.”