Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Cancer. 2018 Sep 15;143(6):1305-1314. doi: 10.1002/ijc.31527. Epub 2018 May 7.

Global burden of cutaneous melanoma attributable to ultraviolet radiation in 2012.

Author information

Section of Cancer Surveillance, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), 150 Cours Albert Thomas, Lyon, France.
Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia.
Cancer Control Group, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
American Cancer Society, NW, Atlanta, GA.
Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.


Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is a strong and ubiquitous risk factor for cutaneous melanoma, emitted naturally by the sun but also artificial sources. To shed light on the potential impact of interventions seeking to reduce exposure to UVR in both high and low risk populations, we quantified the number of cutaneous melanomas attributable to UVR worldwide. Population attributable fractions and numbers of new melanoma cases in adults due to ambient UVR were calculated by age and sex for 153 countries by comparing the current melanoma burden with historical data, i.e., the melanoma burden observed in a population with minimal exposure to UVR. Secondary analyses were performed using contemporary melanoma incidence rates in dark-skinned African populations with low UVR susceptibility as reference. Globally, an estimated 168,000 new melanoma cases were attributable to excess UVR in 2012, corresponding to 75.7% of all new melanoma cases and 1.2% of all new cancer cases. This burden was concentrated in very highly developed countries with 149,000 attributable cases and was most pronounced in Oceania, where 96% of all melanomas (representing 9.3% of the total cancer burden) were attributable to excess UVR. There would be approximately 151,000 fewer melanoma cases worldwide were incidence rates in every population equivalent to those observed in selected low-risk (dark-skinned, heavily pigmented) reference populations. These findings underline the need for public health action, an increasing awareness of melanoma and its risk factors, and the need to promote changes in behavior that decrease sun exposure at all ages.


UV radiation; cancer incidence; global; melanoma; population attributable fraction

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center