An estimated 60,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed each year
in the United States—about 5% of all new cancer cases. Eight
thousand Americans die each year from the disease.
For decades, the incidence has been increasing, although that may
be the result of more testing. And some recent research suggests
that the number of new cases has leveled off in the past few
About 10% of people who get melanoma have a family history of the
disease, suggesting a genetic component. If someone's parent,
sibling, or child has had the disease, his or her risk of also
getting melanoma is 8- to 12-times greater than someone without
an affected first-degree relative. Researchers are looking but
haven't yet identified any melanoma genes.
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