Facts and risk factors
New Zealand’s melanoma incidence rate is the world’s highest.
- Melanoma is the third most common cancer for women and men in New Zealand
- More than 6,000 melanomas are diagnosed in New Zealand every year
- Melanoma accounts for nearly 80% of all skin cancer deaths
- Around 300 Kiwis die of melanoma every year
- Around 70% of melanoma cases occur in people aged 50 years and older
- Darker-skinned people may have a lower chance of getting melanoma, but they often have thicker, more serious melanomas
- Melanoma rarely occurs in children
- Men are twice as likely than women to die from melanoma
Anyone in New Zealand can develop skin cancer but your risk is increased if you have:
- Previous history of skin cancer, especially melanoma
- Fair skin that burns easily
- Red, blonde or fair hair
- Skin damage due to sunburn
- Sunbed use (more than 10 sessions)
- Many moles or large moles (50+)
- High doses of sun exposure e.g. during a holiday and recreational activity with continuous sun exposure
- Being over 50 years old
- Immuno-suppression and use of certain medication
Melanoma Risk Assessment Tool
It is not possible for individuals to identify their personal risk of melanoma by going through a checklist of risk factors.
If you would like to identify your risk, ask your primary care practitioner to use this clinical melanoma risk predictor tool. It was designed for the Australian population but guidelines suggest New Zealanders should select Tasmania as place of residence, to receive the most accurate assessment.
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