Fall in melanoma diagnoses worrying

A FALL in melanoma diagnoses by 28 per cent in April to November 2020 has experts worried that fewer people with suspicious skin lesions are seeing their GP.

Projections based on statistics from previous years indicate that incidence rates should have increased in 2020 but May of that year saw only 54 per cent of expected diagnoses.

Estimates suggest that there were even larger drops in the number of keratinocyte cancers diagnosed. The number of basal cell carcinomas (BCC) and cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (cSCC) biopsied in April 2020 were 22 per cent and 58 per cent (respectively) of the numbers biopsied in April 2019.

The data comes from the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service and has been accepted for publication in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Dr Bav Shergill, chair of the British Association of Dermatologists’ Skin Cancer Prevention Committee, said: "This is another tragic side effect of the pandemic and is of massive concern to us. These missing cases will turn up eventually, sadly for the people concerned, the cancer will be more advanced, which will worsen their prognosis, and result in more complicated and costly treatment."

Link: The impact of the COVIDÔÇÉ19 pandemic on skin cancer incidence and treatment in England, 2020