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Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer!

Statistics. Over 4000 people are diagnosed with either melanoma in situ or invasive melanoma every year in New Zealand – that's around 11 every day.

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About melanoma

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer you can get. It can progress quickly and can be life-threatening.

Melanoma is characterised by the uncontrolled growth of melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells that colour skin, hair and eyes. It is treatable if diagnosed early, but if the cancer spreads to other parts of the body (metastasises) the prognosis is poor.

The main risk factors for melanoma include:

  • Exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB)
  • A history of sunburn in childhood and adolescence
  • Using sunbeds
  • Having many irregular or large moles
  • A personal or family history of melanoma
  • Being fair-skinned and/or red-headed

Download a printable PDF of melanoma facts

Statistics    Over 4000 people are diagnosed with either melanoma in situ or invasive melanoma every year in New Zealand – that’s around 11 every day.
    It’s the fourth most common cancer in New Zealand and accounts for nearly 80% of all skin cancer deaths.
    Around 300 New Zealanders die of melanoma every year.
    New Zealand and Australia have the highest melanoma incidence rate in the world.    70% of melanoma cases occur in people aged 50 years and older.
    Melanoma rarely occurs in children.
    Although Maori and Pacific people have a lower chance of getting melanoma, they often have thicker, more serious melanomas.
    Death rates are higher among men and appear to be increasing.Statistics sourced from the Ministry of Health and the New Zealand Guidelines Group.


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