Around 1.71 percent of adult Europeans suffer from skin cancer, i.e. around 7 million people. This is despite the fact that skin cancer is the most preventable type of cancer since most are caused by damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. This is the result of a survey by the European Academy for Dermatology and Venereology (EADV). 44,689 adults from 27 countries were surveyed.
For Marie-Aleth Richard, professor at La Timone University Hospital in Marseille and member of the EADV board, the results show that measures need to be taken to prevent skin cancer, which has a good prognosis if detected early, but is considered by the population to be serious and life-threatening illness is perceived.
“Skin cancer is one of the 40 percent of cancers that are preventable and the incidence of which we could significantly reduce if we educated the population more rigorously and comprehensively,” she added.
skin cancer and quality of life
Almost half of those surveyed (46.6 percent) who had at least one skin cancer condition said they felt “moderately or extremely anxious and depressed,” with anxiety and fears of surgical scars, death, and metastases being the top reason for change of quality of life were.
While nearly half of patients reported negative impacts on their personal lives, nearly three in five said they were impacted in their professional lives. The biggest impact was a change in working hours or a change in occupation, but 22.6 percent said they did not get a job they were hoping for and 31.3 percent declined a job offer.
Skin Cancer Experts
Dermatologists were recognized as experts in skin cancer by more than half of those surveyed: 52.73 percent said they would be more likely to seek treatment from a dermatologist than a general practitioner or other doctor. This, according to Prof Richard, “demonstrates the important role dermatologists play in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer, as well as the role they can play in preventing and educating about the disease.
The type of doctor consulted for skin cancer cases varied from country to country, with the largest proportion of patients who consulted a dermatologist in the first instance being in Italy (53 percent), France (47.4 percent) and Spain (44.8 percent) was found.
The lowest proportion was reported from the UK, where only 11.9 per cent of patients initially consulted a dermatologist, followed by Poland at 13.5 per cent. However, in almost half of the cases (45.7 percent), the final diagnosis was made predominantly by a dermatologist.
“As recognized experts in the treatment of skin cancer, dermatologists have a central role to play in public health strategies to fight cancer and in educating the public, media, stakeholders and decision-makers about skin diseases including cancer,” said Prof. Alexander Stratigos, President of the EADV.
“These include promoting the protection of children and young people to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer later in life, implementing UV protection measures for workers who work outdoors and regulating sunbeds as medical rather than consumer products “, he added.
“We are also calling for better registration of skin cancer cases across Europe so that we can identify those at risk and support public health program priorities.”