WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug from Bristol-Myers Squibb to treat the deadliest form of skin cancer.

The agency approved Opdivo for patients with hard-to-treat melanoma that cannot be removed through surgery or has spread throughout the body. The approval was based on preliminary studies showing the drug helped shrink tumors in some patients.

Stop sunbathing and using indoor tanning beds, the acting U.S. surgeon general warned in a July report that cites an alarming 200 percent jump in deadly melanoma cases since 1973. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

About 76,100 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with melanoma this year and 9,710 people are expected to die from the disease.

Melanoma long has been considered one of the toughest cancers to treat, with few drug options up until a few years ago. Since 2011, the FDA has approved seven new drugs for the skin cancer, including Opdivo.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.