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Malignant melanoma

Malignant melanoma most often occurs in the skin, but can also occur in mucous membranes (nose, sinuses, mouth, genitals, urinary tract, bowel and esophagus), in eyes and lymph nodes.

In men, the most common localization of melanoma  is the upper body and head/neck. Females previously had the highest incidence of melanoma on the extremities, but after around year 2000 the upper body is the most frequent localization also with them .

Malignant melanoma in the mucous membranes occurs primarily in the head/neck region. The most common localization is the nasal cavity.

Uveal malignant melanoma is the most common primary malignant tumor in the eye.

Malingnant melanoma - Essential facts


In 2013, there were 1719 new cases of malignant melanoma in the skin (equally frequent in both sexes) registered in Norway (1). This is the second most common type of cancer in the age group of 15-54 years and the incidence is more than double in south compared to the north of Norway. The incidence of malignant melanoma in Norway is one of the highest in the world (2,3). The age-adjusted incidence increased considerably until around 1990, and was thereafter relatively stable through the decade. After year 2000 there has been a further increase for both sexes. The rate increases particularly for people above 60 years of age and especially for men. There seems to be a falling incidence for the younger age-groups.

The frequency of malignant melanoma in mucous membranes and eyes is relatively stable. In 2013 there were registered 18 new cases of melanoma inmucosa membranes, 4 men and 14 women .


Age-specific incidence of skin melanoma, 2009–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway



Incidence of skin melanoma, 1954–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway

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