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About 250,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosed in England every year

One in five Brits will develop an NMSC in their lifetime

Graphic courtesy of the British Association of Dermatologists

A new study has attempted to stratify the impact of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC, also known as keratinocyte cancer) in the U.K. (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales). The researchers note NMSC is the most common cancer in the world and, although death is the result in less than 1% of cases, this potential outcome remains a significant concern.

The study, published in Skin Health and Disease (, identified the incidence of NMSC—about 250,000 cases per year in the U.K.—and its effects on the population. One consideration is that since NMSC typically occurs on sun-exposed skin, the surgical removal of the lesions can result in visible scar formation that may ultimately require revision treatment. The researchers also evaluated other concerns including the financial impact of NMSC on National Health Service (NHS) resources. They say this new data may provide information to help fine-tune the planning and delivery of skin cancer services through the NHS. In the U.K., the estimated lifetime risk of melanoma is 1 in 36 for males and 1 in 47 for females.

According to the report, “The published research estimated that there were 234,861 cases of keratinocyte cancers in the U.K. annually, including 184,280 basal cell carcinomas and 50,582 cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas. This yearly figure is almost five times higher than any other cancer in the U.K., including common cancers such as breast (55,920), prostate (52,254) and lung (48,549).”

The researchers say this high incidence rate also emphasizes the importance of early detection and prevention strategies such as the promotion of sun safety, including the use of sunscreen.


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