Skin Cancer Rates Rising

Non melanoma skin cancer cases have increased over the years

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Skin cancer rates have been on the rise for years. The best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect the skin from sunlight and avoid tanning beds.

A recent study looked into how often Americans visited healthcare providers for treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer. Results of the study showed a steady increase in visits over time, especially among white males aged 65 and older.

These findings suggest a need for better skin cancer prevention efforts in the US.

"Wear sunscreen and protective clothing in the sun."

Ashley Wysong, MD, MS, from the Department of Dermatology in the School of Medicine at Stanford University in California, led an investigation into the number of medical care visits and types of treatment for non-melanoma skin cancer in the US.

According to the background of the study, non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the US, with an estimated 1.3 to 2.1 million people receiving treatment for approximately 3.5 million tumors each year.

Data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey between 1995 and 2007 were used to determine the number of visits to healthcare providers for non-melanoma skin cancer and what treatments were used.

Results of the study showed that over the course of 12 years, there were 61,037,814 doctor’s visits for non-melanoma skin cancer. Results also showed:

  • 58 percent of patients were male
  • 87 percent of patients were white
  • 1 percent of patients were Hispanic
  • 1 percent of patients were black
  • 33 percent of cases occurred in the South
  • 59 percent of visits included some type of removal
  • 38 percent of visits included biopsy
  • Approximately 70 percent of visits were to a dermatology specialist

White men over the age of 65 were most likely to go to a doctor for non-melanoma skin cancer. Overall, visits for non-melanoma skin cancer increased from 9.1 per every 1,000 individuals in 1995 to 16.6 per every 1,000 individuals in 2007.

Women were less likely than men to undergo a removal procedure. People with private insurance were more likely to undergo a removal procedure than people with Medicare or Medicaid.

The authors recommended that the medical community continue to develop prevention efforts and new treatments for non-melanoma skin cancer, as it is a growing problem in the US.

This study was published in January in Dermatologic Surgery.

No outside funding information was provided. No conflicts of interest were reported.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 29, 2013
Last Updated:
January 31, 2013