Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers on a Steady Rise

JUNE 02, 2015
Jacquelyn Gray
A study published online in JAMA Dermatology identified an increase in non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) incidents in the US as well as equal basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) occurrences among Medicare recipients.
Howard W. Rogers, MD, PhD and his colleagues estimated NMSC, BCC, and SCC prevalence in Medicare recipients by assessing  Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Physicians Claims databases for skin cancer procedures performed from 2006 through 2012 and related parameters. To gauge 2012 NMSC-related office visits, they also used the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey database for their analysis.
In doing so, the investigators found a 13% increase in procedures for skin cancer from 2006 to 2012, and a 14% rise in NMSC-related procedures during the same period. In addition, they also reported that from 2006 to 2012, 14% more Medicare recipients have undergone an NMSC-related procedure. Moreover, SCC and BCC procedures were about equal – with a rate of 3,280 and 3,278 per 100,000 beneficiaries, respectively.
“The data presented in this study indicate that the incidence rates of skin cancer continue to rise dramatically, with a 100% increase from 1992 to 2012 in the Medicare fee-for-service population and a 35% increase in NMSC in the US population over the 6-year period 2006 through 2012,” the writers penned.
While the numbers are staggering, the authors warned that because NMSC is commonly unreported and untreated, the true impact of the disease is unclear. Nevertheless, the team believed their 2012 estimates put 2006 projections into perspective and will provide insight on potential skin cancer prevention methods and treatments.

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