The number of hospital admissions for skin cancer treatment in England has increased by 41 per cent in the space of just five years, according to a study being presented this week at the World Congress on Cancers of the Skin in Edinburgh, Scotland (September 3rd to 6th).
According to the study conducted by researchers at Public Health England, figures rose significantly from 87,685 admissions in English hospitals in 2007 to 123,808 in 2011. This study does not include treatment in outpatients units or by GPs.
Skin cancers are the most common form of cancer in England, with numbers of skin cancers equal to all other types of cancers combined. Whilst skin cancers can be serious, they are also largely preventable as excess sun exposure is a major avoidable cause. In spite of this, this study has revealed a 30 per cent increase in admissions for melanoma treatment, the most serious type of skin cancer, in English hospitals over the five-year period, in an addition to a 43 per cent increase in non-melanoma skin cancer admissions.
The surge in incidence rates has resulted in an annual spend of over £95 million on inpatient skin cancer care, with the most common procedure for both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers being surgical excision.
Johnathon Major of the British Association of Dermatologists commented: “As holidays to sunny locations become cheaper and tanned skin remains a desirable fashion statement, we have seen an inevitable increase in skin cancer incidence rates and the associated health and financial burden they place on the nation. Skin cancers are largely preventable and more must be done to communicate to the public the serious risks associated with unmediated sun exposure if we are to see a decline in these figures.”
Julia Verne, Director of the South West Knowledge and Intelligence Team, Public Health England added: “The number of procedures required to meet the demands are increasing at a significant rate. Surgery was required for 78 per cent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 71.5 per cent of melanomas. Over 16,000 skin grafts and flaps were required for the treatment of skin cancer in 2011 and the majority are on the head and neck.
The study was released at the World Congress on Cancers of the Skin.
The World Congress on Cancers of the Skin 2014 was founded by The Skin Cancer Foundation, the international organization devoted solely to education, prevention, early detection, and prompt treatment of the world’s most common cancer. It is organised by the British Association of Dermatologists.