Skin cancer statistics

Melanoma of skin is the 17th most common cancer worldwide.

There are two main types of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma. The most common non-melanoma tumours are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Skin cancer represents a particular challenge for estimating incidence for several reasons. There are multiple sub-types of skin cancer, which can present problems when collating data. For example, non-melanoma skin cancer is often not tracked by cancer registries, or registrations of this cancer are often incomplete because most cases are successfully treated via surgery or ablation. Due to these factors, it is likely that the reported global incidence of skin cancer is an underestimate.

Latest skin cancer data

Melanoma of skin is the 17th most common cancer worldwide. It is the 13th most common cancer in men and the 15th most common cancer in women.

There were more than 150,000 new cases of melanoma of skin in 2020.

Non-melanoma skin cancer is often excluded from the reporting of cancer statistics. It is not reported in global total cancer cases. This is because it is very common, often under-diagnosed, and commonly treated within primary care and therefore likely to be under-reported in national cancer registry data.

The 10 countries with the highest rates of both types of skin cancer and the highest number of deaths from both types of skin cancer in 2020 are shown in the tables below.

ASR = age-standardised rates. These are a summary measure of the rate of disease that a population would have if it had a standard age structure. Standardisation is necessary when comparing populations that differ with respect to age because age has a powerful influence on the risk of dying from cancer.

Melanoma skin cancer rates

The following 3 tables show total global melanoma skin cancer incidence and rates in 2020, followed by the figures for men and women. Australia had the highest overall rate of melanoma of skin in 2020, followed by New Zealand.

RankCountryNumberASR/100,000
World324,6353.4
1Australia16,17136.6
2New Zealand2,80131.6
3Denmark2,88629.7
4The Netherlands8,31027.0
5Norway2,56726.4
6Sweden4,26623.3
7Switzerland3,35721.6
8Germany31,46820.5
9Slovenia73519.7
10Finland2,09019.5
Rank (men)CountryNumberASR/100,000
World173,8443.8
1Australia9,46242.9
2New Zealand1,54134.8
3The Netherlands4,42027.1
4Denmark1,38226.2
5Norway1,29825.8
6Switzerland1,82222.8
7Sweden2,14622.2
8Germany17,26021.1
9Slovenia37919.9
10Finland1,09019.5
Rank (women)CountryNumberASR/100,000
World150,7913.0
1Denmark1,50433.6
2Australia6,70930.8
3New Zealand1,26028.9
4Norway1,26927.5
5The Netherlands3,89027.4
6Sweden2,12024.6
7Belgium1,95122.6
8Switzerland1,53520.8
9Germany14,20820.4
10Ireland77220.3

Non-melanoma skin cancer rates

The following 3 tables show total global non-melanoma skin cancer incidence and rates in 2020, followed by the figures for men and women. Australia had the highest overall rate of non-melanoma skin cancer in 2020, followed by New Zealand.

RankCountryNumberASR/100,000
World1,198,07311.0
1Australia58,839140.0
2New Zealand10,271127.5
3US524,73764.9
4Canada61,64560.6
5Switzerland12,77249.5
6Ireland4,78846.2
7The Netherlands17,41334.5
8Germany90,37931.3
9Montenegro37829.6
10Luxembourg38927.3
Rank (men)CountryNumberASR/100,000
World722,34815.1
1Australia34,318169.8
2New Zealand5,639148.1
3US336,09192.2
4Canada35,18676.0
5Ireland3,07564.0
6Switzerland6,94860.4
7The Netherlands10,17942.6
8Germany55,05541.6
9Montenegro23140.7
10UK32,60934.8
Rank (women)CountryNumberASR/100,000
World475,7257.9
1Australia24,521111.5
2New Zealand4,632108.7
3Canada26,45947.6
4US188,64642.7
5Switzerland5,82440.3
6Ireland1,71330.2
7The Netherlands7,23428.1
8Luxembourg18424.1
9Germany35,32423.6
10Belgium4,14922.2

Melanoma skin cancer deaths

The following 3 tables show total global melanoma skin cancer mortality in 2020, followed by the figures for men and women. New Zealand had the highest rate of melanoma skin cancer mortality in 2020, followed by Norway.

RankCountryNumberASR/100,000
World57,0430.6
1New Zealand4724.7
2Norway3753.2
3Montenegro323.0
4Slovakia3172.8
5Slovenia1272.6
6Australia1,4082.4
7Denmark3412.4
8Croatia2362.4
9The Netherlands9062.3
10Serbia3932.3
Rank (men)CountryNumberASR/100,000
World32,3850.7
1New Zealand3216.7
2Montenegro204.0
3Norway2073.8
4Slovakia1773.8
5Slovenia763.4
6Croatia1403.3
7Australia8913.2
8Serbia2423.1
9North Macedonia462.8
10The Netherlands5432.7
Rank (women)CountryNumberASR/100,000
World24,6580.5
1New Zealand1512.8
2Norway1682.6
3Montenegro122.3
4Slovakia1402.2
5Denmark1642.1
6The Netherlands3631.9
7Slovenia511.9
8Sweden2331.8
9Australia5171.7
10Serbia1511.7

Non-melanoma cancer deaths

The following 3 tables show total global non-melanoma skin cancer mortality in 2020, followed by the figures for men and women. Papua New Guinea had the highest rate of non-melanoma skin cancer mortality in 2020, followed by Namibia.

RankCountryNumberASR/100,000
World63,7310.6
1Papua New Guinea2705.1
2Namibia533.8
3Mozambique3752.5
4Zimbabwe1592.4
5Angola2502.2
6Comoros82.2
7Togo852.0
8Eswatini121.9
9Somalia1381.8
10Ethiopia1,0871.7
Rank (men)CountryNumberASR/100,000
World37,5960.8
1Papua New Guinea1506.1
2Namibia316.0
3Mozambique1893.4
4Angola1462.7
5Lebanon1002.7
6Georgia912.7
7Togo482.4
8Venezuela3232.2
9Zimbabwe572.2
10Cuba2702.1
Rank (women)CountryNumberASR/100,000
World26,1350.4
1Papua New Guinea1204.3
2Namibia222.5
3Zimbabwe1022.4
4Burkina Faso1082.1
5Comoros42.1
6Mozambique1862.0
7Somalia762.0
8Eswatini72.0
9Ethiopia6121.9
10Angola1041.7

What causes skin cancer?

There is evidence that the following are associated with an increased risk of skin cancer: radiation, medicines used to suppress the immune system after organ transplantation, infection with human papilloma virus, exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls, genetics and family history, and skin pigmentation.

There is also strong evidence that:

There is some evidence that:

  • drinking coffee might decrease the risk of malignant melanoma in women and might decrease the risk of basal cell carcinoma in men and women
  • consuming alcoholic drinks might increase the risk of malignant melanoma and basal cell carcinoma
  • being tall might increase the risk of basal cell carcinoma
  • greater birthweight might increase the risk of malignant melanoma

> Read more about what can cause and what can protect against skin cancer

The data on this page comes from the Global Cancer Observatory, owned by the World Health Organization/International Agency for Research on Cancer, and is used with permission. The cancer incidence figures and ASRs were compiled using the data available here (last accessed 23 March 2022). For queries about our cancer statistics please email the Research Interpretation team: ri@wcrf.org.