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Journal of Skin Cancer
Volume 2012, Article ID 231693, 6 pages
Research Article

Rising Incidence of Mucosal Melanoma of the Head and Neck in the United States

1Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University, 1365 Clifton Road NE, Suite AT225, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
2Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA
3Department of Dermatology, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
4Department of Hematology/Oncology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA
5Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA
6Department of Otolaryngology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA

Received 28 September 2012; Accepted 19 November 2012

Academic Editor: Lionel Larue

Copyright © 2012 David M. Marcus et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. While it is established that the incidence of cutaneous melanoma has risen over time in the United States, the incidence trend for mucosal melanoma of the head and neck (MMHN) is unknown. Methods. We used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database to determine incidence trends for MMHN from 1987 to 2009 in the United States. We determined annual percent change (APC) by weighted least squares and joinpoint regression analysis. Results. MMHN incidence increased from 1987 to 2009 (APC 2.4%; ). Nasal cavity lesions increased in incidence (APC 2.7%; ) over this duration, while the incidence of non-nasal cavity lesions remained stable. The highest rate of increase was in white females ages 55 to 84 (APC 5.1%; ). Conclusions. The incidence of MMHN in the United States has been rising since 1987. This trend is driven primarily by increased incidence of nasal cavity melanomas.