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Am J Dermatopathol. 1985;7 Suppl:35-9.

The rising incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle.


The incidence of malignant melanoma of the skin among the white population of the United States has been rising at about 6% a year. The mortality has been rising by about 3% a year in males and 1% a year in females since data became available in the early 1950s. In young adults the rate of increase in mortality may be slackening. Very little of this increased mortality can be ascribed to improving certification. More of the reported increase in incidence may be due to this, but sufficient extra cases occur to provide the increased mortality. The basis of these changes appears to be changes in lifetime risk. The factors responsible have their effect in youth. Changes in long-lasting habits of dress or leisure activity could be the culprits, as could be biologic changes such as increase in the prevalence of ordinary or dysplastic nevi.

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