LJUBLJANA, 13th May, 2022 –
Results of a new European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) survey presented today at EADV’s Spring Symposium show that 1.71% of the adult European general population reported having skin cancer, meaning some 7,304,000 Europeans are estimated to have the disease.1
This is despite skin cancer being the most preventable cancer, since most is caused by damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.2
The survey data also show that a mole check or skin cancer screening was the main reason for patients consulting a dermatologist over the past 12 months, with over a fifth (22.3%) of appointments made with a skin specialist being to check a mole or lesion.1
The findings from the EADV’s Burden of Skin Disease (BOSD) survey of 44,689 adults from 27 countries indicate the need for an “expansion in skin cancer education across Europe to help the population make safer skin choices,” according to leading dermatologists at the organisation.
Of the people surveyed, 0.6% reported a diagnosis of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. However, keratinocyte carcinomas, which include basel cell and squamous cell carcinomas, are by far the most widespread of all cancers and the most rapidly increasing with incidence expected to rise by over 40% until 2040.3
Marie-Aleth Richard, Professor at the University Hospital of La Timone, Marseilles and the EADV Board Member leading the survey said the results “demonstrate the need for action to be taken to prevent skin cancer, which has a good prognosis if caught early but is perceived by the population as a serious and life-threatening condition.”
Prof Richard said she believed the survey “underscores the need for improved understanding, education and awareness about skin cancer and implementing evidence-based interventions as part of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan.”
“Skin cancer is part of the 40% of cancers that are preventable and whose incidence we could considerably reduce if we provided more consistent and widespread education to the population,” she added.
“This should be complementary to an adequate policy and regulatory framework to reduce the incidence of skin cancer and prevent it becoming a significant challenge to health systems.”
Skin cancer and Quality of Life
Almost half of people surveyed (46.6%) who reported at least one skin cancer said they felt ‘moderately or extremely anxious and depressed’, with anxiety and fear about surgical scars, death and metastasis being the main reason for an alteration in quality of life.
Whilst nearly half of patients said there was a negative impact on their personal life, almost three in five said they were impacted in their professional life. The biggest result was a change in working hours or altering professional activity but 22.6% said they did not get a hoped-for job and 31.3% refused a professional offer.1
Dermatologists viewed as the experts on skin cancer
Dermatologists were recognised by over half of those surveyed as the experts on skin cancer, with 52.73% saying they would trust a skin professional to treat them over a general practitioner or other health care professional,1 which Prof Richard said “demonstrated the important role dermatologists play in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancers as well as the role they can play in prevention and education of the disease.”
The type of doctor consulted in the case of skin cancer varied by country, with the largest percentage of patients who called on a dermatologist in the first instance found in Italy (53%), France (47.4%) and Spain (44.8%).
The lowest proportion reported was the UK, where only 11.9% of patients initially went to a dermatologist followed by Poland on 13.5%. However, in almost a half of cases (45.7%), the final diagnosis was predominantly made by a dermatologist.
“As recognised experts for the management of skin cancers, dermatologists must play a central role in public health strategies for beating cancer and in educating the general public, media, stakeholders and decision makers about skin diseases including cancer,” says Prof Alexander Stratigos, President of the EADV.
“These include promoting the protection of children and teenagers to reduce the risk of skin cancers developing in later life, implementing UV protection measures for outdoor workers and the regulation of sunbeds as medical devices, not consumer products,” he added.
“We are also calling for the improved registration of skin cancer cases across Europe to help us detect groups most at risk and help public health programmes priorities.
“The EADV is committed to its aim of advancing excellence in patient care and advocating on behalf of dermatology professionals and patients.”
Notes to Editors
A reference to the EADV Spring Symposium or EADV Spring Symposium 2022 must be included when communicating any information within this press release.
For further information or to arrange an expert interview, please contact:
Annabelle Sanderson – EADV Press Officer
+44 (0) 20 8971 6408
Molhim Ahmed – EADV Press Officer
+44 (0) 20 8971 6400
Founded in 1987, the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology is a global community with the unifying goal of advancing excellence in patient care, promoting knowledge and expertise among healthcare professionals, as well as advocating on behalf of the speciality and patients. It is a non-profit organisation with almost 7000 members across 108 countries in the world, providing a valuable service for every type of dermato-venereologist professional.
To find out more visit https://www.eadv.org/
About EADV Spring Symposium 2022
Held in Ljubljana, Slovenia’s green capital, the EADV Spring Symposium is a welcome return back to face-to-face learning and networking opportunities to share the latest research and foster scientific collaboration.
The three-day scientific programme will continue the long-established tradition of academic excellence in the fields of dermatology and venereology with more than 20 sessions and over 70 top-level speakers.
Topics to be covered include skin cancer, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, STIs, acne, hair and nail disorders, paediatric dermatology and aesthetic dermatology.
To find out more visit https://eadvsymposium2022.org/
About the Burden of Skin Disease in Europe Survey
The EADV’s Burden of Skin Disease in Europe Survey is a multi-national, cross-sectional online study of a representative sample of the general public with or without skin disease above 18 years old from 27 European countries, including 24 countries from the European Union as well as the UK, Norway and Switzerland. Data was collected from 44,689 adults between October 2020 and September 2021.
The main objective of the study was to evaluate the prevalence of dermatologic or venereological conditions. Secondary objectives aimed to (1) detail reasons for consulting a dermatologist and dermatological needs from the general population; (2) the impact of the skin conditions to affected patients in terms of QIL, stigmatisation, burden and the impact in their daily life; (3) the public perception of cutaneous diseases; (4) to characterise the care pathways and the role of dermatologist compared to General Practitioner (GP), Pharmacists or Nurses in the care of the skin conditions; (5) to determine the prescribed treatment and (6) capture the reactions and confidence towards dermatologists in the various countries of the European Union and the level of satisfaction with his or her interventions.
About skin cancer
Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the European Union.4 In 2020, over 106,000 EU citizens were diagnosed with all forms of the disease and more than 20,000 Europeans die from melanoma annually.4 The cost of skin cancer for European countries is estimated at €2.7 billion annually and is therefore a considerable economic burden to healthcare systems.5 It is estimated that skin melanoma accounted for 4% of all new cancer diagnosis in the EU-27 and was the sixth most frequently occurring cancer.6
The term non melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) covers all cutaneous cancers that do not involve melanocytes. This term is widely used to refer to basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Keratinocyte Carcinomas (KC), named from the cell of origin (similarly to melanoma) is a more correct term for grouping BCC and SCC, the most frequent skin cancers. Other skin cancers exist, including Merkel cell carcinoma, skin lymphomas, adnexal carcinomas etc. and while rare, can have high mortality.
1. Richard M-A et al. The Burden of Skin Diseases [BOSD] in Europe: Preliminary results about skin cancers diagnosis and care pathway. Abstract no 353 presented at EADV Spring Symposium 2022. https://eadvsymposium2022.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/eadv_abstracts_book.pdf. [accessed May 2022]
2. Prevent Cancer Foundation. Skin cancer. Available at: https://www.preventcancer.org/education/preventable-cancers/skin-cancer/ [accessed May 2022]
3. Girvalaki C et al, Non-melanoma skin cancer as an occupational disease. What is the impact on the society and the welfare system? Journal of Health Inequalities 2020; 6(2) 153-159.
4. Tadeusz Duby et al. The European cancer burden in 2020: Incidence and mortality: Incidence and mortality estimates for 40 countries and 25 major cancers. European Journal of Cancer 2021; 157: 308e347.Available at: https://www.ejcancer.com/article/S0959-8049(21)00497-4/fulltext. [accessed May 2022]
5. Krensel, M et al, Cost-of-illness of melanoma in Europe – a modelling approach, J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2019; Mar 33 Suppl 2:34-45. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30811699/ [accessed May 2022]
6. European Commission. Skin melanoma burden in EU-27. Available at https://ecis.jrc.ec.europa.eu/pdf/factsheets/Melanoma_cancer_en.pdf. [accessed May 2022]
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The authors have reported no conflict of interest