Is Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer Causing More Deaths Than Melanoma?

Global melanoma incidence was 324,635 in 2020, resulting in 57,043 deaths, while 63,731 NMSC deaths were reported

By Dermsquared Editorial Team | October 18, 2023

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18, 2023 -- The global melanoma incidence in 2020 was 324,635, resulting in 57,043 deaths, while nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) led to 63,731 deaths, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, held from Oct. 11 to 14 in Berlin.

Samir Salah, from Laboratoire Dermatologique La Roche-Posay in Levallois Perret, France, and colleagues conducted an epidemiological analysis of skin cancer using World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer data.

The researchers found that global melanoma incidence was 324,635 in 2020, resulting in 57,043 deaths. Europe bore the heaviest burden (150,000 cases and 26,360 deaths), while Africa had the highest mortality-to-incidence ratio (0.25 versus 0.026 for Europe). Despite the lower mortality likelihood, NMSC led to 63,731 deaths in 2020 due to a significantly higher incidence; there were 11,281 deaths in Africa. There was wide variation seen in dermatologist densities among 59 countries with data (0.33 per 100,000 in Pakistan to 15.15 in Greece), with no linear correlation to wealth or melanoma incidence noted. Countries with fair-skinned and elderly populations had high skin cancer incidence, including the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Higher mortality-to-incidence ratios were seen in countries with low dermatologist density (India, China, Turkey, Korea, and Morocco), while high ratios were seen in Japan, Russia, and Argentina, despite high dermatologist density.

"We have to get the message out that not only melanoma can be fatal, but NMSC also," coauthor Thierry Passeron, M.D., Ph.D., from the Nice University Hospital Center in France, said in a statement. "It's crucial to note that individuals with melanin rich skin are also at risk and are dying from skin cancer."

This work was conducted by the L'Oréal Dermatological Beauty Corporate and Social Responsibility team, in conjunction with La Roche-Posay experts.


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