More patients are diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma (BCC) in the United States each year than all other cancers combined—more than 2.5 million BCCs compared with 1.7 million other cancers.1-3 Most of these BCCs occur in people aged 65 years and older, and each year, more than 100 000 BCCs are treated in persons who ultimately die within 1 year. Procedures to remove skin cancers have doubled in the last 15 years, and the use of Mohs surgery, histologically guided serial excision, increased by 400% between 1995 and 2009.4 Many clinicians have suggested that this is an epidemic of skin cancer1 attributed to excessive sun exposure, a thinning ozone layer, and indoor tanning. These numbers will likely increase further; as the number of older adults doubles between 2010 and 2030, overall cancer incidence is projected to increase 45%.5
Linos E, Schroeder SA, Chren M. Potential Overdiagnosis of Basal Cell Carcinoma in Older Patients With Limited Life Expectancy. JAMA. 2014;312(10):997–998. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.9655
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