Melanoma Rates Estimated By State

For their study, the researchers examined number of melanomas reported from 2011 to 2015 and estimated the contribution of UV exposure using the number of cases among white individuals in Connecticut from 1942 to 1954. This group was used as a baseline due to the lack of a population with no exposure to UV radiation.

“The low melanoma burden in Connecticut during this period likely reflected UV exposure accumulated in the 1930s or earlier, when exposure was likely minimized by clothing style and limited recreational exposure.”

Overall, 91% of the total melanoma cases (338,701 of 372,335) from 2011 to 2015 were associated with UV exposure, 94.3% of which occurred in non-Hispanic white individuals.

Rates of melanoma by state ranged from 15.1 per 100,000 in Alaska to 65.1 per 100,000 in Hawaii. Rates of UV-associated melanoma above 25 per 100,000 were common in East and West Coast states, including Delaware (37.1), Georgia (36.5), California (33.8), Maryland (32.6), North Carolina (29.5), Florida (29.2), Oregon (28.5), South Carolina (28.1), Washington (27.8), New Jersey (27.7), New Hampshire (26.5). Incidence rates were also above 25 per 100,000 in several landlocked states, including Utah (40.4), Vermont (31.4), Minnesota (27.9), Idaho (27.6), Kentucky (25.7), and Colorado (24.5).

The researchers attributed high rates of UV-attributed melanoma in states with low UV index to higher prevalence of outdoor activities.

“Considerable proportions and incidence rates of melanoma attributable to UV radiation in all states underscores the need for broad implementation or enforcement of preventive measures across states, with priority for states with higher burden,” the authors concluded.

—Michael Potts

Islami F, Sauer AG, Miller KD, et al. Cutaneous melanomas attributable to ultraviolet radiation exposure by state [published online February 17, 2020]. Int J of Cancer. doi 10.1002/ijc.32921.