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Karl D. Lewis, MD


Predicting the Future Global Disease Burden From Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer

By: Amy MacDonald, MS
Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Non-melanoma skin cancers represent up to one-third of all malignancies diagnosed globally in a year. Because these skin cancers are so common, and most often curable, their statistics are estimated. Individual cases are not usually reported to cancer registries, so policy decisions are often based on estimations of disease burden.

In a recent study published in BMC Cancer, researcher Guixia Pan and colleagues from Anhui Medical University, China, reviewed available data on non-melanoma skin cancer to reveal global trends. The study authors hypothesized that the incidence of this type of skin cancer and its associated costs would be found to have increased during the past 20 years, as the global population, in whom most non-melanoma skin cancers occur, has aged.

The study authors extracted data on non-melanoma skin cancers from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study, reportedly the largest and most detailed scientific effort ever conducted to quantify global trends in health. Data on death, disability-adjusted life years, and overall incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers from 1990 to 2019 were the focus of this current analysis.

The data revealed several trends. First, the global disease burden from non-melanoma skin cancer was significantly higher in males than in females during the analyzed period. Second, areas of the world with better socioeconomic development experienced a greater disease burden from non-melanoma skin cancers, with the United States having the highest number of new diagnoses. Finally, China experienced the highest number of deaths and disability-adjusted life years from non-melanoma skin cancer.

Based on these findings and several others outlined in the assessment, the study authors predict that the number of new cases, deaths, and disability-adjusted life years attributable to non-melanoma skin cancers will increase at least 1.5 fold from 2020 to 2044.

Disclosure: The authors reported no conflicts of interests.

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