It appears that people are listening to doctors' orders to protect their skin from the sun. In the largest Canadian study of non-melanoma skin cancer, Andrei Metelitsa, Gordon Jung and their research group have found skin cancer rates in Alberta are going down in men and have levelled off for women. This comes at a time when American scientists say that skin cancer rates are on the rise.
Metelitsa and Jung analyzed data collected over a 20-year period from nearly 100,000 patients diagnosed with the two most common cancers in the world. Those are basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas. After a rapid spike in the late 1980s and early 90s, the number of cases has remained stable since 2000.
The research group believes trends seen in Alberta are representative of the entire Canadian population because the age-standardized melanoma incidence rates mirrors the national rate.
The dermatology residents have a few speculations on this trend. The result of strong skin cancer awareness campaigns, which started more than 20 years ago, could be contributing to the observed stabilization of these cancers.
The study will be published in the British Journal of Dermatology.