Special Report

States With the Most Skin Cancer

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An estimated one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Diagnosis rates of melanoma — one of the most common and deadly forms of skin cancer — doubled in the United States between 1982 and 2011. Meanwhile, skin cancer treatment cost Americans $8.1 billion a year from 2007 to 2011, more than twice the annual cost in the previous five years.

While melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma account for the vast majority of skin cancer diagnoses. If detected early and treated properly, both types are highly curable.

The much less common melanoma is a more aggressive form of skin cancer, accounting for about three out of every four skin cancer deaths. Melanoma is expected to account for 76,000 cases of skin cancer, and 10,000 deaths in 2016.

Click here to see the states with the most skin cancer.

The incidence of melanoma varies among states. To determine which states have the highest rates of melanoma, 24/7 reviewed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Texas has the lowest rate in the country with 12 cases of melanoma for every 100,000 residents annually. The rate in Utah is more than three times higher, at 37.3 melanoma diagnoses for every 100,000 people — the highest of any state.

Many factors contribute to a state’s melanoma rate. Because more than 90% of melanoma cases are diagnosed in non-Hispanic whites, states with larger shares of light-skinned residents tend to report a greater incidence of melanoma. Nine of the 10 states with the highest rates of melanoma have populations with higher proportions of white residents than the nation as a whole. This is true for only four of the 10 states with the lowest rates of melanoma.

Exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun, particularly to the point of sunburn, increases the risk of melanoma. Sunny, Southern states do not have higher rates of melanoma, however. The difference between states may be caused more by how residents protect themselves from the sun, rather than how much time they spend in the sunlight. For example, residents living in cloudier areas may not use sunscreen as much as a resident living in sunny areas, even though the majority of the ultraviolet radiation penetrates the clouds.

To identify the states with the highest rates of skin cancer, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed melanoma diagnosis and death rates per 100,000 people from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Figures are for 2013, the most current available. Percentages of state populations who are white came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey. Nevada was excluded from the list because melanoma rates were not available.

These are the states with the highest rates of melanoma.

Austin, Texas
Source: Thinkstock

49. Texas
> Melanoma diagnoses: 12.0 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.2 per 100,000 (tied-8th lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 75% (19th lowest)

Ghost Ranch, New Mexico
Source: Thinkstock

48. New Mexico
> Melanoma diagnoses: 13.5 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.4 per 100,000 (tied-15th lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 73% (17th lowest)

Alaskan Summer
Source: Thinkstock

47. Alaska
> Melanoma diagnoses: 14.8 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: N/A
> Pct. pop. white: 66% (9th lowest)

Indianapolis at sunrise
Source: Thinkstock

46. Indiana
> Melanoma diagnoses: 16.4 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 3.2 per 100,000 (tied-8th highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 84% (18th highest)

Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Source: Thinkstock

45. Louisiana
> Melanoma diagnoses: 16.6 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.3 per 100,000 (tied-11th lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 63% (7th lowest)

Biloxi Beach at Sunset, Mississippi
Source: Thinkstock

44. Mississippi
> Melanoma diagnoses: 17.0 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.0 per 100,000 (4th lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 59% (4th lowest)

Chicago, Illinois 4
Source: Thinkstock

43. Illinois
> Melanoma diagnoses: 17.8 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.7 per 100,000 (tied-21st highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 73% (16th lowest)

St. Louis, Missouri
Source: Thinkstock

42. Missouri
> Melanoma diagnoses: 18.2 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 3.0 per 100,000 (tied-11th highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 83% (20th highest)

Birmingham Alabama
Source: Thinkstock

41. Alabama
> Melanoma diagnoses: 18.6 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.7 per 100,000 (tied-21st highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 69% (12th lowest)

Detroit, Michigan
Source: Thinkstock

40. Michigan
> Melanoma diagnoses: 18.7 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.5 per 100,000 (tied-18th lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 79% (25th highest)

Saguaro arizona
Source: Thinkstock

39. Arizona
> Melanoma diagnoses: 18.8 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 3.0 per 100,000 (tied-11th highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 79% (25th lowest)

Oklahoma City Sunrise
Source: Thinkstock

38. Oklahoma
> Melanoma diagnoses: 18.9 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.7 per 100,000 (tied-21st highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 73% (18th lowest)

New York City, Manhattan
Source: Thinkstock

37. New York
> Melanoma diagnoses: 19.0 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.2 per 100,000 (tied-8th lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 65% (8th lowest)

View of mountains in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia.
Source: Thinkstock

36. West Virginia
> Melanoma diagnoses: 19.3 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 3.6 per 100,000 (2nd highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 94% (4th highest)

Boston, Massachusetts
Source: Thinkstock

35. Massachusetts
> Melanoma diagnoses: 19.3 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 3.0 per 100,000 (tied-11th highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 80% (24th highest)

Honolulu County, Hawaii
Source: Thinkstock

34. Hawaii
> Melanoma diagnoses: 19.4 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 1.6 per 100,000 (3rd lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 25% (2nd lowest)

Cleveland, Ohio
Source: Thinkstock

33. Ohio
> Melanoma diagnoses: 19.5 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.8 per 100,000 (tied-17th highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 83% (21st highest)

Knoxville, Tennessee
Source: Thinkstock

32. Tennessee
> Melanoma diagnoses: 19.9 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 3.3 per 100,000 (7th highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 78% (22nd lowest)

Skyline of Hartford Connecticut on a beautiful sunny day
Source: Thinkstock

31. Connecticut
> Melanoma diagnoses: 19.9 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.2 per 100,000 (tied-8th lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 78% (21st lowest)

Devils Tower, Crooks County, Wyoming
Source: Thinkstock

30. Wyoming
> Melanoma diagnoses: 20.0 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.5 per 100,000 (tied-18th lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 91% (7th highest)

Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Source: Thinkstock

29. Arkansas
> Melanoma diagnoses: 20.1 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.7 per 100,000 (tied-21st highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 78% (24th lowest)

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Source: Thinkstock

28. Virginia
> Melanoma diagnoses: 20.4 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.8 per 100,000 (tied-17th highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 69% (13th lowest)

Flatirons Boulder, Colorado
Source: Thinkstock

27. Colorado
> Melanoma diagnoses: 20.7 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 3.2 per 100,000 (tied-8th highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 84% (19th highest)

Farm, Wisconsin
Source: Thinkstock

26. Wisconsin
> Melanoma diagnoses: 21.3 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.4 per 100,000 (tied-15th lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 87% (13th highest)

Pierre, South Dakota
Source: Wikimedia Commons

25. South Dakota
> Melanoma diagnoses: 21.4 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.1 per 100,000 (5th lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 85% (14th highest)

The historic cable car on San francisco city, california
Source: Thinkstock

24. California
> Melanoma diagnoses: 21.8 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.3 per 100,000 (tied-11th lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 62% (6th lowest)

North Dakota Badlands
Source: Thinkstock

23. North Dakota
> Melanoma diagnoses: 22.0 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.6 per 100,000 (tied-21st lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 89% (9th highest)

Charleston Sunset, South Carolina
Source: Thinkstock

22. South Carolina
> Melanoma diagnoses: 22.2 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 3.0 per 100,000 (tied-11th highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 67% (10th lowest)

Johns Hopkins, Maryland
Source: Thinkstock

21. Maryland
> Melanoma diagnoses: 22.2 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.6 per 100,000 (tied-21st lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 58% (3rd lowest)

Fishing Pier Ocean Grove, New Jersey, beach
Source: Thinkstock

20. New Jersey
> Melanoma diagnoses: 22.3 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.4 per 100,000 (tied-15th lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 69% (11th lowest)

Naples, Florida
Source: Wikimedia Commons

19. Florida
> Melanoma diagnoses: 22.4 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.9 per 100,000 (16th highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 76% (20th lowest)

Kansas house
Source: Thinkstock

18. Kansas
> Melanoma diagnoses: 23.0 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 3.4 per 100,000 (tied-4th highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 85% (15th highest)

Lincoln, Nebraska
Source: Thinkstock

17. Nebraska
> Melanoma diagnoses: 23.0 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 3.4 per 100,000 (tied-4th highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 88% (10th highest)

Providence-Warwick, Rhode Island
Source: Thinkstock

16. Rhode Island
> Melanoma diagnoses: 23.2 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.4 per 100,000 (tied-15th lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 81% (23rd highest)

Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Source: Thinkstock

15. North Carolina
> Melanoma diagnoses: 23.3 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.7 per 100,000 (tied-21st highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 70% (14th lowest)

Kentucky Tobacco Field With Barn and Silo in Background
Source: Thinkstock

14. Kentucky
> Melanoma diagnoses: 24.3 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 3.4 per 100,000 (tied-4th highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 88% (12th highest)

York County, Pennsylvania
Source: Thinkstock

13. Pennsylvania
> Melanoma diagnoses: 24.3 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.8 per 100,000 (tied-17th highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 82% (22nd highest)

Mount Katahdin, Baxter State Park, Maine
Source: Thinkstock

12. Maine
> Melanoma diagnoses: 24.7 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 3.2 per 100,000 (tied-8th highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 95% (2nd highest)

Augusta, Georgia
Source: Thinkstock

11. Georgia
> Melanoma diagnoses: 24.9 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.7 per 100,000 (tied-21st highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 60% (5th lowest)

Yakima, Washington
Source: Thinkstock

10. Washington
> Melanoma diagnoses: 25.7 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.7 per 100,000 (tied-21st highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 78% (23rd lowest)

Beartooth Mountains at dawn, Red Lodge, Montana, USA.
Source: Thinkstock

9. Montana
> Melanoma diagnoses: 25.9 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.5 per 100,000 (tied-18th lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 89% (8th highest)

Snake River Canyon, Idaho
Source: Thinkstock

8. Idaho
> Melanoma diagnoses: 26.1 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 3.7 per 100,000 (the highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 92% (5th highest)

Dartmouth, New Hampshire
Source: Thinkstock

7. New Hampshire
> Melanoma diagnoses: 26.3 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.7 per 100,000 (tied-21st highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 94% (3rd highest)

Des Moines, Iowa
Source: Thinkstock

6. Iowa
> Melanoma diagnoses: 26.6 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.8 per 100,000 (tied-17th highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 91% (6th highest)

Boundary Waters, Minnesota
Source: Thinkstock

5. Minnesota
> Melanoma diagnoses: 27.8 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.7 per 100,000 (tied-21st highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 85% (16th highest)

Sunrise Over Crown Point at Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Source: Thinkstock

4. Oregon
> Melanoma diagnoses: 28.4 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 3.0 per 100,000 (tied-11th highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 85% (17th highest)

Dover, Delaware
Source: Thinkstock

3. Delaware
> Melanoma diagnoses: 30.0 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.6 per 100,000 (tied-21st lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 70% (15th lowest)

Stowe, Vermont
Source: Thinkstock

2. Vermont
> Melanoma diagnoses: 32.3 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 2.3 per 100,000 (tied-11th lowest)
> Pct. pop. white: 95% (the highest)

Provo Orem, Utah Valley wildflowers
Source: Thinkstock

1. Utah
> Melanoma diagnoses: 37.3 per 100,000
> Melanoma deaths: 3.5 per 100,000 (3rd highest)
> Pct. pop. white: 88% (11th highest)

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