Skin Cancer Hospital Admissions Soar by 41% in Just Five Years

The number of hospital admissions for skin cancer treatment in England has increased by 41 per cent in the space of just five years, according to a study being presented this week at the World Congress on Cancers of the Skin in Edinburgh, Scotland (September 3rd to 6th).

According to the study conducted by researchers at Public Health England, figures rose significantly from 87,685 admissions in English hospitals in 2007 to 123,808 in 2011. This study does not include treatment in outpatients units or by GPs.

Skin cancers are the most common form of cancer in England, with numbers of skin cancers equal to all other types of cancers combined. Whilst skin cancers can be serious, they are also largely preventable as excess sun exposure is a major avoidable cause. In spite of this, this study has revealed a 30 per cent increase in admissions for melanoma treatment, the most serious type of skin cancer, in English hospitals over the five-year period, in an addition to a 43 per cent increase in non-melanoma skin cancer admissions.

The surge in incidence rates has resulted in an annual spend of over £95 million on inpatient skin cancer care, with the most common procedure for both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers being surgical excision.

Johnathon Major of the British Association of Dermatologists commented: “As holidays to sunny locations become cheaper and tanned skin remains a desirable fashion statement, we have seen an inevitable increase in skin cancer incidence rates and the associated health and financial burden they place on the nation. Skin cancers are largely preventable and more must be done to communicate to the public the serious risks associated with unmediated sun exposure if we are to see a decline in these figures.”

Julia Verne, Director of the South West Knowledge and Intelligence Team, Public Health England added: “The number of procedures required to meet the demands are increasing at a significant rate. Surgery was required for 78 per cent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 71.5 per cent of melanomas. Over 16,000 skin grafts and flaps were required for the treatment of skin cancer in 2011 and the majority are on the head and neck.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact: Matt Gass, Communications Officer, on 020 7391 6084 or at

If using this study, please ensure you mention that the study was released at the World Congress on Cancers of the Skin.  

The conference will be held in Edinburgh from September 3rd to 6th 2014, and is attended by approximately 1,000 UK and worldwide health professionals.

The World Congress on Cancers of the Skin 2014 was founded by The Skin Cancer Foundation, the international organization devoted solely to education, prevention, early detection, and prompt treatment of the world’s most common cancer. It is organised by the British Association of Dermatologists.


Study details:
Skin cancer care in England; V.Poirier, T.Jones, A.Ives, J. Newton-Bishop and J.Verne


Skin cancers – Non Melanoma Skin Cancer (NMSC) and Malignant Melanoma (MM) are the most common cancers in England. The treatment and consequent cost related to NMSC is often considered insignificant compared to MM. We considered the trends in numbers of day case and inpatient treatments for skin cancer during a five year period in England, including procedures used, specialties involved and costs.


Details of admissions between 2007 and 2011 for a diagnosis of skin cancer (ICD 10 code C43 or C44) were extracted from the inpatient hospital episode statistics (HES). We identified the procedures used and the specialties involved. Healthcare Resources Group (HRG) codes were used to estimate the costs involved. NMSC admissions were matched to the National Cancer Data Repository to determine their morphology: Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) or Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC).


There has been a significant increase in hospital admissions between 2007 and 2011 for NMSC (76,528 vs. 109,333) and MM (11,157 vs. 14,475).The main procedures recorded in 2011 were surgical excisions both for NMSC (78%) and MM (71.5%). Moh’s surgery was mainly undertaken for BCC. Over 16,000 flaps and grafts were undertaken for NMSC in 2011 compared to 1,766 for MM. There was some use of amputation for MM and SCC. Most day cases were managed by Dermatologists and Plastic Surgeons and the latter represented the main specialty involved with inpatient care. Dermatologists’ involvement with day cases increased between 2007 and 2011 (3.9% for NMSC and 5.3% for MM) but decreased for Plastic Surgeons (-3.3% and -5.9%). The overall cost of inpatient treatment in England in 2011, based on our data, was £81,114,834 for NMSC and £14,355,797 for MM.

About the BAD 

The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) is the central association of practising UK dermatologists. Our aim is to continually improve the treatment and understanding of skin disease. The BAD provides free patient information on skin diseases and runs a number of high profile campaigns, including Sun Awareness, which runs from May to September annually and includes national Sun Awareness Week in May. Website:

Published on September 4, 2014