The following post is by Joan Levy, PhD - MRA Chief Science Officer.
Each January, the American Cancer Society (ACS) releases updated estimates about trends in new cancer cases and deaths in its annual report, Cancer Facts and Figures.
This report highlights the estimated incidence (number of new cases), prevalence (number of people alive today with a history of cancer), and survival statistics for cancer in the United States. Importantly, the report tracks trends over time — allowing us to monitor the impact of improvements to prevention and treatment approaches.
2023 Melanoma Facts and Figures:
- An estimated 97,610 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S., affecting 58,120 men and 39,490 women; and
- An estimated 7,990 deaths from melanoma are expected in the U.S., comprised of 5,420 men and 2,570 women.
This data is incredibly useful for understanding how rates of melanoma shift over time and how melanoma research and new treatment options — such as advances in immunotherapy and targeted therapy — are improving patient survival and outcomes.
Trends Seen Over the Last Decade of Available Data:
- Deaths due to melanoma have dropped steeply by about 5% per year over the last decade, due to advances in melanoma treatment.
- Despite being far more common in White Americans, disparities in melanoma survival persist. For example, melanoma survival over the period of 2012 – 2018 was 94% among Whites but only 70% in Black Americans.
- Among people younger than 50-years old, rates of new cases of melanoma since the early 2000’s have stabilized in women and have declined by 1% per year in men
- Among people older than 50 years old, rates of new melanoma have stabilized in men and have increased by about 1% per year among women from 2015 to 2019.
These data suggest that the numerous new treatments for melanoma approved over the last decade appear to be improving survival across the population. However, with an estimated 7,990 deaths this year from melanoma, more research is still critical to develop new treatment options that benefit all patients. This is particularly true for patients facing rare melanoma subtypes and those whose disease is advancing despite available treatments. Understanding this urgent need for new melanoma treatments, MRA has invested more than 90% of its research funding to date into the discovery and development of new treatment options, including over 200 unique treatment approaches.
The new report from ACS shows that melanoma is the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States for both men and women. It also supports MRA’s current scientific priorities of increased focus on precision prevention and early detection research, understanding treatment resistance, deciphering brain metastasis and leptomeningeal disease, and research into rare melanomas. MRA’s Precision Prevention and Early Detection research program aims to empower more people to learn what sun-safe habits are appropriate for them, improve access to dermatology care, and advance research on new tools including artificial intelligence and machine learning for early detection, diagnosis, and prognosis.