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Keratinocyte Cancer in Australia: Identifying Trends in Incidence and Risk

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Monday, May 9, 2022

Research presented in Public Health Research & Practice estimates that a majority of Australians will experience keratinocyte cancer in their lifetimes. Catherine M. Olsen, PhD, of the University of Queensland, Australia, and colleagues conducted a literature review to determine population-based risk estimates for development of this disease.

“Reliable estimates of disease incidence are fundamentally important to inform prevention activities, to monitor their success, and to plan for future health-care services,” concluded the authors. “We recommend that population-based cancer registries consider working toward statutory notification and routine reporting of keratinocyte cancer in Australia.”

A total of six studies published between January 2001 and August 2021 were included. The investigators used research methods from Cancer Research UK and found an estimated 69% of Australians were projected to undergo one or more keratinocyte excisions in their lifetime. Incidence rates for treatments such as excisions, cryotherapy, and curettage trended upward over time, rising most significantly for people aged at least 55 years.

The most recent data regarding estimated basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma annual incidence rates were from 2011 to 2014. During that period, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma were estimated to have affected 770 individuals and 271 individuals, respectively, per 100,000 people per year. Incidence rates based on lesion occurrence versus individual experience were more than twice as high (basal cell carcinoma: 1,565/100,000 persons per year; squamous cell carcinoma: 580/100,000 persons per year) due to how commonly multiple lesions on a single patient occur.

“This high and increasing burden of skin cancer emphasizes the need for continued investment in skin cancer education and prevention,” the study authors concluded.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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