Although the population lives in a higher latitude, the incidence of and death rate from skin cancer is approximately the same in Sweden as it is in England and Wales. The proportion of malignant melanoma is higher in the Swedish deaths and the death rate from malignant melanoma is higher in Sweden than in England and Wales. The ratios of male to female cases and deaths from malignant melanoma are higher in Sweden than in England and Wales. These differences do not appear likely to be due to differences in the statistical or medical care systems, and suggest important genetic and occupational effects. Total skin cancer rates and rates summarizing all ages may be poor indicators of the real variations between populations in the epidemiology of malignant skin tumours.