The Cleveland Department of Public Health would like to thank the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) for their support and the prevention content of this report.  The MRF has resources and tools to assist in prevention, self-screening, and treatment options.  They also engage in advocacy efforts on behalf of melanoma patients and caregivers across the country.  For more information on melanoma or how you can assist with advocacy, please visit the Melanoma Research Foundation at

What is Melanoma?

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.  Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.  There are several forms of melanoma: cutaneous, mucosal, and ocular.  Cutaneous is the most common type of melanoma, and occurs on the skin.  Mucosal melanoma is a rare form of melanoma that occurs in mucous membranes throughout the body.  Ocular melanoma is another rare form of melanoma that occurs in the eye.  Metastatic melanoma refers to when the melanoma has spread beyond the original site to the lymph nodes or to distant organs. 

Melanoma in the City of Cleveland

From 2009-2013, Cleveland had 134 newly diagnosed cases of melanoma, making the incidence rate for the city 33.77 per 100,000.  The graphic below provides a breakdown of incidence rates by age group in Cleveland; the 85+ age group had the highest incidence rate at 782.01.

Of the total new cases, 90% were Caucasian.  Males and females had an almost equal proportion of cases, with males at 50.7% and females at 49.3%.  At the time of diagnosis, 45% of the cases were diagnosed with malignant melanoma, unspecified.

The graphic below provides a map of incidence rates by neighborhood in the City of Cleveland

Methodology: All data was obtained from the Ohio Department of Health.  Data is based on age and address at the time of diagnosis. Please note that crude rates were used, and rates may be unstable due to small sample size.  For more information on data methodology, please contact the Cleveland Department of Public Health Office of Communicable Disease Surveillance and Epidemiology at 216-664-3747. 

What Can YOU do to Help Prevent Melanoma?


Primary prevention focuses on reducing and limiting exposure to UV radiation.  This includes UV from sunlight and artificial sources, such as tanning beds.  Following and combining the guidelines below will greatly reduce the risk of developing melanoma:

Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin year-round

Wear protective clothing

Seek shade when possible

Use extra caution near reflective environments - water, snow and sand reflect and magnify the damaging rays of the sun, increasing your chance of sunburn.

Do not sunburn

Avoid intentional tanning and indoor tanning beds

Get plenty of vitamin D through diet instead of sunlight exposure

Be aware of your medications – some medications may increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight 

Secondary prevention focuses on the early detection of melanoma.  This includes both monthly self-skin examinations and yearly skin examinations by a dermatologist.  Research has shown that patients themselves are most likely to spot a melanoma, reinforcing the importance of thoroughly checking skin each month.  EARLY DETECTION IS KEY!  Click on the image below for a melanoma self-screening guide.

Special Thanks to the Following for their Authorship on this Report:

Vinothini Sundaram, MPH, Epidemiologist,  Cleveland Department of Public Health

Sydney Ogden, MPH, Intern, Cleveland Department of Public Health