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Skin cancer treatments in clinics increased by almost a quarter
The number of skin cancer treatments in German hospitals has increased by almost a quarter. According to the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden, almost 92,000 patients with this diagnosis were treated in a clinic in 2012. This was an increase of more than 23 percent in five years.
Number of skin cancer patients increased by 23.4 percent In German clinics, the number of skin cancer patients increased significantly. In 2012, a total of 91,900 patients with this diagnosis were treated in the hospital. As the Federal Statistical Office announced in Wiesbaden on Tuesday, this is an increase of 23.4 percent within five years. This was also the largest growth rate among all cancer treatments in the hospital. Around a quarter of the patients (26.6 percent) had to be treated for malignant melanoma ("black" skin cancer). And just under three quarters (73.4 percent) had been diagnosed with light skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma and spiked cell carcinoma).
Men affected slightly more often than women Overall, men were affected slightly more often than women at 55.3 percent. In men, "black" skin cancer mainly occurs on the trunk, in women, however, primarily on the lower extremities and the hips. In both sexes, light skin cancer affects particularly body regions that are more exposed to sunlight, such as specific parts of the face, scalp, neck and ears. Three quarters of the skin cancer patients were 65 years and older. Children, adolescents and young adults are very rarely treated in hospital for this reason.
UV radiation and hereditary factors as the main risk factors Too much UV radiation from the sun is considered to be one of the main risk factors for the development of skin cancer. The rays can damage the skin and cause cancer. Hereditary dispositions also play a role. Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in Germany. According to the German Cancer Society, up to 200,000 people are diagnosed with it every year in Germany. And the German Cancer Aid even assumes around 234,000 new cases per year. More than 20,000 diagnoses alone concern dangerous "black" skin cancer.
Early detection of malignant skin changes Surgical interventions performed on skin cancer patients primarily included extensive removal of the diseased skin and tumor tissue, transplants in the form of a flap replacement on the skin and subcutaneous tissue and temporary soft tissue coverage. The hospital stays lasted an average of 5.2 days. Even if a skin cancer check would help to detect malignant skin changes early, studies show that only every third person uses the option of a medical check-up. Statutory health insured persons aged 35 and over are entitled to such skin cancer screening every two years from a dermatologist or a qualified general practitioner.
Tips to avoid skin cancer Expert tips to avoid skin cancer primarily include protection against UV radiation. So you should not be exposed to strong sunlight, such as at lunchtime, wear suitable clothing, headgear and sunglasses, use sufficient sunscreen, adapt the sun exposure to the skin type and avoid sunburn. It is also advised to keep outdoor stays short, seek shade, move outdoor activities into the mornings or evenings, and generally get your skin used to the sun slowly. Particular attention should be paid to the protection of children and infants, as a matter of principle, no direct exposure to the sun. (ad)