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Non-melanoma skin cancer is an 'epidemic'

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

Several new reports published in the March issue of Archives of Dermatology indicate that diagnosed cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are increasing rapidly.

According to one study, more than 2 million Americans were treated for non-melanoma skin cancer in 2006, compared to only 1.6 million in 1992. The researchers also projected that another 1.4 million cases had gone undiagnosed.

In another report, Robert Stern, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, designed a mathematical model to estimate the prevalence of skin cancer from 1957 to 2006 in the U.S.

Based on his research, he found that approximately 13 million Caucasian Americans alone had experienced at least one case of non-melanoma skin cancer by 2006. Stern also estimated that one in five current 70-year olds will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime.

"We are dealing with a problem that is not going away," said Howard Rogers, a dermatologist and lead author of one of the studies. "The number has kept going up and up at a rate of 4.2 percent every year, on average, from 1992 to 2006."

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