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Health Indicator Report of Cancer Deaths - Melanoma

Melanoma skin cancer is less common than basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers, but it is far more serious. All types of skin cancer are associated with exposure to the sun. New Mexico's desert climate and high elevation contribute to increased levels of sun exposure, resulting in higher overall skin cancer incidence rates. One-third of our state's population lives in Albuquerque, located 5,311 feet above sea level, which receives one of the highest rates of solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure in the nation.


Melanoma skin cancer mortality is defined as a malignant neoplasm, melanoma of skin (ICD10: C43).   Data have been directly age-adjusted to the U.S. 2000 standard population.

Data Sources

  • New Mexico Death Data: Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics (BVRHS), New Mexico Department of Health.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, CDC WONDER Online Database (


Melanoma Skin Cancer Deaths per 100,000 population in New Mexico


Number of melanoma skin cancer deaths


New Mexico population

Healthy People Objective: C-8, Reduce the melanoma cancer death rate

U.S. Target: 2.4 deaths per 100,000 population

Other Objectives

New Mexico Cancer Plan 2012-2017 Objectives: 1. Increase the proportion of New Mexicans who regularly practice sun safety behaviors, by 2017. 2. Reduce by 5%, from 31.7% (2006 BRFSS) to 30%, the proportion of New Mexican adults who report one or more sunburns in the past year, by 2017. 3. Increase the number of schools that receive technical assistance to implement comprehensive sun-safe policies from 32 to 40, by 2017.

How Are We Doing?

The rate of death from melanoma skin cancer among New Mexicans has remained fairly stable at around 2 to 3 deaths per 100,000 from 1999-2016. New Mexico's melanoma skin cancer mortality rate has been below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 2.4 per 100,000 population at several points between 1999-2016.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Age-adjusted melanoma mortality rates have remained fairly stable and are very similar for New Mexico and the United States overall at around 2 to 3 deaths per 100,000 from 1999-2016.

What Is Being Done?

Blistering sunburn in childhood and adolescence is an almost universal risk factor for melanoma in White populations. Potentially, the greatest reductions in the numbers of melanoma skin cancer cases could come from preventive strategies. Communities throughout the state participate in the New Mexico Department of Health Comprehensive Cancer Program's RAYS Project - Raising Awareness in Youth about Sun Safety. Elementary school kids are taught the importance of being sun safe to reduce the risk of future skin cancer. The project focuses on policy changes such as allowing children to wear hats during recess, in addition to personal behaviors such as staying out of the sun and covering up with long sleeves and hats. Since 2002, more than 40,000 children, parents and community members have been reached with educational messages about sun safety through the RAYS Project.

Evidence-based Practices

The CDC's Guide to Community Preventive Services provides information on evidence-based education and policy approaches that aim to increase behaviors such as: reducing sun exposure, especially during peak hours; improving knowledge and attitudes about sun protection among children and adults; and, changing policies and creating sun-safe environments including more shade structures.

Available Services

The New Mexico Department of Health, Comprehensive Cancer Program, Raising Awareness among Youth about Sun Safety (RAYS) Project (

Health Program Information

Visit the New Mexico Department of Health Comprehensive Cancer Program website at:
Page Content Updated On 12/29/2017, Published on 01/08/2018
The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Mon, 12 November 2018 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Mon, 8 Jan 2018 08:51:16 MST