Posted: Thursday, February 1, 2024
Although melanoma is the most aggressive type of skin cancer, non-melanoma skin cancer seems to be causing a greater number of global deaths, according to a study presented at the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology (EADV) Congress 2023. In fact, lead study author, Thierry Passeron, MD, PhD, of the University Hospital of Nice, and colleagues believe non-melanoma skin cancer may be underreported, and so its true impact may be higher than estimated.
“Although non-melanoma skin cancer is less likely to be fatal than melanoma skin cancer, its prevalence is strikingly higher. In 2020, non-melanoma skin cancer accounted for 78% of all skin cancer cases, resulting in over 63,700 deaths. In contrast, melanoma caused an estimated 57,000 fatalities in the same year. The significantly higher incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer has, therefore, led to a more substantial overall impact,” Professor Passeron stated.
The study focused on data from the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer. The investigators reported a high incidence of skin cancer in fair-skinned and elderly populations from the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, and Italy. In addition to examining the overall burden of skin cancers, the researchers identified specific population groups who were more at risk of this disease, including those who work outside, organ-transplant recipients, and those who have the inherited skin condition xeroderma pigmentosum (which is linked to extreme sensitivity to the sun).
Of note, the investigators did not find consistent evidence to suggest that having more dermatologists per capita could reduce mortality rates. In fact, countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada, with fewer dermatologists, exhibited low mortality-to-incidence ratios. “We therefore need to explore what strategies these countries are employing to reduce the impact of skin cancer in further depth,” Professor Passeron said.
Disclosure: This work has been conducted by L’Oréal Dermatological Beauty Corporate and Social Responsibility team, and La Roche–Posay experts, in collaboration with Professor Passeron and with the support of FutureBridge company.