Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 05-November-2010, Vol 123 No 1325
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Non-melanoma skin cancers in New Zealand—a neglected problem
Nicholas D L Brougham, Elizabeth R Dennett, Swee T Tan
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are the commonest types of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). The incidence of NMSC has been increasing globally with Australia recording a 1.5-fold increase over the last 17 years. Given that Australia and New Zealand share similar latitude, sun exposure levels, population skin types, and other risk factors, it is conceivable that this increase has also occurred in New Zealand. However, the incidence of NMSC in New Zealand is unknown.
The cost of treating NMSC in New Zealand is estimated to be more than NZ$50 million annually, based on extrapolated Australian data. In Australia, NMSC is the most costly burden to its healthcare system, and therefore the Australian Government has allocated resources to improve epidemiological research, and preventative efforts. Currently within New Zealand there is a lack of focus on the NMSC problem.
The absence of New Zealand data on the incidence of NMSC has hampered the development of consistent healthcare policies (including preventative measures), that achieve an integrated and sustainable service delivery. A critical analysis of this problem based on longitudinal data is now vitally important to address this neglected problem.
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