Melanoma affects many New Zealanders
Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer, and New Zealand has the highest rates in the world .
In 2019, there were 2,727 melanoma registrations in New Zealand. The melanoma registration rate has always been higher for males than females over the past 19 years (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Melanoma registration rate, by sex, 2001–2019 (age-standardised rate per 100,000)
362 people died from melanoma in 2016
In 2016, 362 people died from melanoma in New Zealand. The mortality rate has stayed consistently higher for males than females (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Melanoma mortality rate, by sex, 2001–2016 (age-standardised rate per 100,000)
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world
New Zealand and Australia have the highest rates of melanoma incidence and mortality in the world (Figures 3a & 3b).
Figure 3a: Estimated melanoma incidence rates by country, 2018 (rate per 100,000)
Figure 3b: Estimated melanoma mortality rates by country, 2018 (rate per 100,000)
Melanoma rates among European/Other ethnicity is five times the rate among Māori
In 2019, almost all melanoma cancer registrations were for people of European/Other ethnicity (2610 out of 2727 registrations, 96%). Only a small number of registrations were among Māori (70 registrations), Pacific people (6 registrations) and Asian (7 registrations).
Melanoma among European/Other ethnicity is five times the rate among Māori. Males had a higher rate than females in the European/Other ethnic group (Figure 4). This has been consistent since 2001–2010.
Figure 4: Melanoma registrations, by sex and ethnic group (prioritised), 2010–19 (age-standardised rate per 100,000)
The percentage of thick melanomas were greater for Māori than non-Māori
In 2019, the percentage of melanomas with thickness larger than 2mm were greater for Māori compared with Non-Māori (Table 1) despite the lower age-standardised rate in Māori.
Information about the data
Melanoma cancer registrations and deaths
Source: Ministry of Health – New Zealand Cancer Registry, New Zealand Mortality Collection.
Definition: Melanoma is defined as melanoma of the skin registrations (ICD-10 C43) in the New Zealand Cancer Registry. Rates are per 100,000 people, and have been age-standardised to the WHO world standard population.
Global melanoma statistics
Source: Global Cancer Observatory, 2018 
1.Cancer Control Agency. 2021. Cancer Types: Melanoma Cancer. Accessed 03/05/2021.
2. Ministry of Health. 2016. Cancer: Historical summary 1948–2013. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
3. Global Cancer Observatory. 2018:Global Cancer Observatory: Cancer Today. Retrieved March 2020, from https://gco.iarc.fr/today