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article imageInternational rates for skin cancer revealed

By Tim Sandle     Jul 14, 2016 in Health
A new global study has revealed variations in the rate of skin cancer around the world. The key variations relate to geographical and socio-economic factors, which make the disease more or less common.
The study has been compiled by the medical technology company Derma.plus. The company manufactures a software platform designed to provide dermatological advice, produced by leading physicians.
The study aimed to unravel why incidences of skin cancer are more common in some parts of the word more than others. This produced two key findings. Firstly, there is a relationship between skin cancer rates and inequalities in health care spending around the world. Here, Bangladesh has the lowest skin cancer prevalence per capita and it spends the same amount on 300 skin cancer patients as a country like Norway does on one person. The object here is to work out how a local health economy reacts to the disease and how much effort a country is putting into combating skin cancer.
The second finding was that skin cancer is more prevalent in developed countries. This relates to ultra-violet light levels (expressed as UV Factors) and a higher rating on a ‘Skin-Tone Scale’ (meaning more people with paler skin) lead to skin cancer being more common. Skin tone is assessed on the internationally recognized Fitzpatrick-Scale.
The UV Factor measure feeds into what the researchers have termed a "Skin Cancer Susceptibility Index." The index is produced by multiplying the UV factor, the average population skin-tone and the rate of skin cancer incidences. The higher the figure, the more likely skin cancer is to occur.
So, what does all this collected data mean? At the top of the Susceptibility Index is New Zealand, meaning that those living in this country have the highest incidences of skin cancer (and the greatest likelihood of developing skin cancer) per capita.
Looking at other countries, the U.S. is in ninth place, the U.K. in eleventh, Ireland in fourteenth (something of concern to TheJournal.ie (@thejournal_ie) on Twitter) and Canada at number 19.
However, while New Zealand and Australia occupy the top two spots, the death rates from skin cancer are relatively low. This is due to relatively high levels of spending on health promotion and with disease treatment. In contrast, with Nigeria, although skin cancer rates are not especially high the death rate is disproportionately high due to the poorly developed medical infrastructure.
Across the board, according to study lead Professor Dietrick Abeck, the trend is upwards: “The incidence of both non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers has increased dramatically over the past decades.”
He adds further: “Worldwide, more than 3-million non-melanoma skin cancers and 150,000 melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed each year. One in every three cancers diagnosed is a skin cancer.”
This equates to a death from skin cancer every 10 minutes around the world. The study, therefore, makes a timely contribution to the global health debate and highlights an area where health promotion is much needed.
More about Skin cancer, Cancer, Sun, Global, Medical
 
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