Skin cancer is the most common malignancy in the world. One out of three new cancers is a skin cancer (Diepgen and Mahler 2002). More than one million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) (basal cell carcinoma [BCC] and squamous cell cancers [SCC]) occur annually (Jemal et al. 2008). Approximately 800,000 of these cancers are BCC and about 200,000 are SCC (Diepgen and Mahler, 2002). In Australia, NMSC accounts for 75% of all cancers and is 30 times more prevalent than lung cancer among men and ten times more prevalent than breast cancer among women (Burton 2000). Incidence rates for NMSC are increasing. An average increase of 3-8% per year since the 1960s has occurred in the white populations of Europe, the United States (US), Canada and Australia (Glass and Hoover 1989; Green 1992). Incidence data for NMSC are sparse because traditional cancer registries do not track NMSC, however it has been estimated that the incidence of NMSC is 18-20 times greater than that of melanoma. Incidence rates of NMSC increase proportionally with the proximity to the equator, with high cumulative Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) light exposure and with age (Diepgen and Mahler 2002). The incidence of NMSC has until most recently affected the older population - especially men who have worked outdoors, however the age of onset has steadily decreased. While the incidence rates for non-melanoma skin cancers continues to rise the mortality rate has decreased in recent years however there continues to be a substantial impact on morbidity, health and health care costs. In 2001, approximately 2,000 deaths were reported due to NMSC mostly due to metastasis of SCC to the lymph nodes and other sites. Early diagnosis and appropriate therapy result in a 95% cure rate. Prevention is the key management tool for NMSC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas