Malignant melanoma incidence rates have increased overall for all of the broad age groups in Great Britain since the late 1970s.
Malignant melanoma incidence trends probably reflect changing prevalence of risk factors, with recent incidence trends influenced by risk factor prevalence in years past. Increased surveillance
and early detection, plus changes in diagnostic criteria, also play some part.[5-8] Malignant melanoma incidence rates have increased overall for all of the broad age groups in Great Britain since the late 1970s.[1-3] The largest increases have been in people aged 70-79 and 80+, with European AS incidence rates increasing more than six-fold (541% and 554% increases, respectively) between 1979-1981 and 2011-2013. The smallest increase has been in people aged 0-24, with European AS incidence rates rising by 132% between 1979-1981 and 2011-2013.[1-3].
Malignant melanoma incidence is related to age, with the highest incidence rates overall being in older males and females. But in contrast to most cancer types, malignant melanoma also occurs relatively frequently at younger ages.[1-4] In the UK in 2011-2013, on average each year around half (49%) of cases were diagnosed in people aged 65 and over.[1-4]
Age-specific incidence rates increase steadily from around age 20-24 years, reaching a peak at age 90+ for males, and at age 85-89 years for females. The increase is sharper for males from age 55-
59 years onwards. Incidence rates are higher for females than for males in the younger age groups: the difference is largest at age 20-24, when the male:female ratio of age-specific incidence rates (to account for the different proportions of males to females in each age group) is 10:22. However, males have higher incidence rates from age 60-64 onwards, and this gap is widest at the ages of
90+, when the male:female ratio of age-specific incidence rates is around 20:10.