Plan needed to prevent fast rise of skin cancers, says cancer centre

Photo: Arena73 via Wikimedia Commons
Protection is key. Photo: Arena73 via Wikimedia Commons

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the Netherlands and a national prevention plan is needed to halt its explosive growth, cancer monitoring centre IKNL has said.

The organisation has published a landmark study which maps the fast rise of skin cancers, which, it said will continue to rise by some 70,000 new cases each year if nothing is done to raise awareness. Of all cancer diagnoses in the Netherlands around half are skin cancer.

The IKNL said the increase is putting pressure on hospitals and that efficient care and greater cooperation between dermatologists and family doctors would go a long way to relieve that pressure.

The most common skin cancer is basal skin carcinoma with 48,000 new cases each year. Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer of which some 12,000 new cases are reported each year. The two cancers can be treated successfully in most cases, the IKNL said, but they do need repeated treatment.

The rise of people who have a melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, has stabilised since 2016, the IKNL said. Early detection and innovative treatment are also increasing survival rates, from 78% in 1991 to 86% in 2010.

The national plan proposed by the IKNL is aimed at coordinating care and existing efforts to raise awareness about the harmful effects of the sun and tanning beds and how best to protect the skin.

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