Duchess of York has malignant melanoma. How common is this cancer?

Duchess of York has malignant melanoma. How common is this cancer?

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, has been diagnosed with skin cancer while undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

Doctors found the malignant melanoma after removing moles during reconstructive surgery following her mastectomy, according to The Associated Press.

“Clearly, another diagnosis so soon after treatment for breast cancer has been distressing but the Duchess remains in good spirits,” a spokesperson told the AP.

Ferguson, 64, is Prince Andrew’s ex-wife and the mother of Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2023 during a routine mammogram.

Melanoma is a serious kind of skin cancer that starts in the cells that give color to the skin, and it’s dangerous because it can quickly spread to other parts of the body and be life-threatening. But how common is this type of cancer?

In the U.K., melanoma ranks as the fifth-most-common cancer, making up 4% of all new cancer cases, and there are about 16,700 new cases of melanoma skin cancer each year.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., skin cancer is the most widespread type of cancer, with melanoma making up just 1% of cases but leading to a majority of skin cancer-related deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.

In 2024, the American Cancer Society estimates that 100,640 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed, leading to about 8,290 deaths.

While melanoma risk rises with age, with it being commonly diagnosed around the age of 66, it has become more common in young adults, especially women under 30.

However, you can reduce skin cancer risk by protecting yourself against sun exposure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises shielding your skin from UV rays, tanning beds and sunlamps, and using sunscreen.