In the last 25 years, in New York, there has been a declining trend in mortality from malignant melanoma, although its frequency has increased. Researchers at the University of Texas, have analysed data on malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, between 1981 and 1999. They find there has been a 200 per cent increase in cases among men - from 2.0 cases per 150,000 population to 12.2 per 100,000. For women, the corresponding increase was about 300 per cent - from seven to 10 per 100,000.
But mortality rates have fallen. For men, five year survival was 60 per cent in 1981, compared to 85 per cent in 1999. The corresponding figures for women are 70 per cent and 8025 per cent. This is probably because people are more aware of the signs of skin cancer, and seek help at an earlier stage. There is still room, say the researchers, for changes in sun exposure behaviour - for cases of melanoma are still increasing.