Epidemiology of basal and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma in the U.K. 2013–15: a cohort study

Z. C. Venables*, T. Nijsten, Kwok Wong, P. Autier, John Broggio, A. Deas, C. A. Harwood, L. M. Hollestein, S. M. Langan, E. Morgan, C. M. Proby, J. Rashbass, I. M. Leigh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC), together known as keratinocyte cancers (KCs), are the commonest cancer in white ethnic populations. Recent improvements to registry data collection in England has allowed more accurate analysis of the epidemiology of BCC and cSCC and for the first time we are able to provide an accurate (representative) tumour burden for KC in the U.K. Objectives: To estimate the incidence of BCC and cSCC in the U.K. Methods: A cohort of patients with KCs between 2013 and 2015 were identified using linkage to diagnostic codes derived from pathology reports collected into the national cancer registry. Data from England's cancer registry were combined with data from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. European age-standardized incidence rates (EASRs) of the first BCC and cSCC per patient per annum (PPPA) were calculated. Results: In the U.K, the EASR of the first BCC and cSCC PPPA in 2013–15 were 285 and 77 per 100 000 person years, respectively (211 120 KCs total in 2015). The mean annual percentage increase was 5% between 2013 and 2015 for both BCC and cSCC. By counting the first KC PPPA, we include an additional 51% KCs compared with the previous reporting technique which counts only the first BCC and cSCC in a patient's lifetime, yet it represents a probable underestimation of 5–11% of the true tumour count. Conclusions: Based on an improved methodology, a more representative incidence of KC is presented, which is essential to healthcare planning and will lead to improved understanding of the epidemiology of KC. What's already known about this topic?. Keratinocyte cancers (KCs) are the most common cancers affecting white ethnic populations. The incidence of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) is increasing worldwide including the U.K., most commonly in elderly male Caucasian patients. These cancers are traditionally substantially underreported and frequently excluded from national cancer statistics. What does this study add?. Using improved data collection methods in England and validated tumour-reporting techniques, we report the most accurate BCC and cSCC incidence data for the U.K. ever published. Identifying the first BCC and cSCC per patient per annum, the incidence of BCC and cSCC in the U.K. (excluding Wales) was 285 and 77 per 100 000 person years, respectively, between 2013 and 2015, with more than 210 000 KCs in the U.K. in 2015.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-482
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
U.K. data were provided by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service England funded by Public Health England. Scottish data were obtained from Information Services Division Scotland funded by NHS Scotland, while the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry was funded by the Public Health Agency. This work uses data provided by patients and collected by health services as part of their care and support. S.M.L. is supported by a Wellcome Senior Clinical fellowship in Science (205039/ Z/16/Z). Z.C.V. is supported through a British Association of Dermatologists and Genetic Medicine (BADGEM) fellowship. Thanks to Jennifer Lai at Public Health England for providing graphics.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 British Association of Dermatologists


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