About Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells. The commonest forms of skin cancer are Basal Cell Cancer (BCC) (~80%), Squamous Cell Cancer (SCC) (~15%) and Melanoma (~5%). Many other rarer skin cancers exist and include Merkel Cell Cancer (MCC), sebaceous gland carcinoma, cutaneous B-cell lymphoma etc.
Most commonly, skin cancer occurs on sun exposed areas of the skin, but it can also occur in areas that does not get exposed to the sun.
According to a 2019 publication by the Canadian Cancer Statistics Advisory Committee1, 7800 Canadians will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2019. An estimated 1300 patients will die of melanoma in 2019. In the same publication, melanoma was identified as the 4th most common cancer in the age groups (15y-29y) and (30-49y) – 2011-2015 in Canada, excluding Quebec.
It is a well-known fact that skin cancer incidence is increasing exponentially. The commonest skin cancers are BCC and SCC but it is highly curable if detected early and treated appropriately. If melanoma is detected and treated before it has spread the 5-year survival rate is 99%. If melanoma spreads to local lymph nodes the 5-year survival rate is 64% and if there are distant spread to lymph nodes or other organs the 5-year survival rate is only 23%.2,3
1. Canadian Cancer Statistics Advisory Committee. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2019. Toronto, ON: Canadian Cancer Society; 2019. Available at: cancer.ca/Canadian-Cancer-Statistics-2019-EN (accessed 20 November, 2019).
2. American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2019. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2019.
3. Siegel RL, Miller KD, Jemal A. Cancer statistics, 2019. CA Cancer J Clin. 2019.