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.

Melanoma of the skin is the 15th most commonly occurring cancer in men and women. There were nearly 300,000 new cases in 2018. The top 20 countries with the highest rates of melanoma of the skin in 2018 are given in the tables below.

The Continuous Update Project Panel judged there is strong evidence that drinking water contaminated with arsenic increases the risk of skin cancer and greater adult attained height increases the risk of malignant melanoma. There is strong evidence that beta-carotene (as high-dose supplements) has no substantial effect on the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. 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. There is some evidence that consuming alcoholic drinks might increase the risk of malignant melanoma and basal cell carcinoma; greater adult attained height might increase the risk of basal cell carcinoma; and greater birthweight might increase the risk of malignant melanoma. Read about all the evidence in our Third Expert Report.

Age-standardised rates are used in the tables. This is 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.

Skin cancer rates: both sexes

Australia had the highest rate of melanoma in 2018, followed by New Zealand.

Rank Country Age-standardised rate per 100,000
1 Australia 33.6 
2 New Zealand 33.3
3 Norway 29.6
4 Denmark 27.6
5 Netherlands 25.7
6 Sweden 24.7
7 Germany 21.6
8 Switzerland 21.3
9 Belgium 19.9
10 Slovenia 18.6
11 Luxembourg 16.5
12 Ireland 16.3
13 Finland 15.8
14 UK 15.0
15= Austria 13.6
15= France (metropolitan) 13.6
17 US 12.7
18 Czech Republic 12.6
19= Canada 12.4
19= Italy 12.4

Skin cancer rates in men

Australia had the highest rate of melanoma in men in 2018, followed by New Zealand.

Rank Country Age-standardised rate per 100,000
1 Australia 40.4
2 New Zealand 35.8
3 Norway 29.0
4 Netherlands 26.4
5 Sweden 23.5
6 Switzerland 23.4
7 Denmark 22.4
8 Germany 19.6
9 Luxembourg 18.1
10 Slovenia 18.0
11= Belgium 16.2
11= Finland 16.2
13= Austria 15.0
13= UK 15.0
15 US 14.9
16 France (metropolitan) 14.4
17 Italy 14.0
18 Ireland 13.6
19 Canada 13.4
20 Czech Republic 13.3

Skin cancer rates in women

Denmark had the highest rate of melanoma in women in 2018, followed by New Zealand.

Rank Country Age-standardised rate per 100,000
1 Denmark 33.1
2 New Zealand 31.1
3 Norway 30.7
4 Australia 27.5
5 Sweden 26.2
6 Netherlands 25.4
7 Germany 24.0
8 Belgium 23.9
9 Slovenia 19.7
10 Switzerland 19.5
11 Ireland 19.0
12 Finland 15.9
13 Luxembourg 15.4
14 UK 15.3
15 France (metropolitan) 12.9
16 Austria 12.6
17 Czech Republic 12.4
18= Canada 11.7
18= Iceland 11.7
20 Estonia 11.4
21= Italy 11.0
21= US 11.0
23 Greece 10.3
24 Hungary 10.1
25 Lithuania 9.0