Canadians among the most susceptible to skin cancer, study finds
A doctor inspects a patient's mole for skin cancer in this file photo. (damiangretka / istock.com)
Canadians might adore their short summers and flock to the beaches in droves, but a new report finds we also have one of the highest risks of developing skin cancer.
A new study has ranked Canada 19th on a list of 62 countries with the highest susceptibility to skin cancer.
The study graded countries on several factors, including its average UV light, its average skin tone based on demographics, and its rates of new skin cancer diagnoses.
It was produced by Derma.plus, a German organization that provides dermatological advice.
New Zealand ranked highest on the skin cancer index, with a score of 10. The country, which receives high amounts of sunshine and where much of the population is white, has some of the highest skin cancer incidence rates in the world.
Australia was a close second, with a score of 9.67. Switzerland, Sweden and Norway rounded out the top 5 with scores in the 5 range.
While Canada doesn’t get at much sun as some countries on the list, it placed 19th on the list with a score of 3.41 in large part due to our skin type score, which was determined by looking at our ethnic distribution.
Bangladesh residents were found to be least susceptible to skin cancer, followed by those in Iraq and Egypt. All three countries scored a 1 on the index. (The study did not include data from most of the countries of Africa.)
To get a better sense of the efforts each country is making to treat skin cancer, the study also ranked countries on a Socioeconomic Treatment Index, which cross-referenced skin cancer death rates against average income and national health spending.
Sweden, Switzerland and Italy ranked in the top 3 on the index, while Canada ranked 22nd.
Australia, which has one of the highest skin cancer incidences in the world, also appears to have one of the lowest skin cancer death rates, at just 13 per cent, the study found. Italy, Denmark and the U.S. also have low mortality rates, at 14 per cent.
Canada’s skin cancer mortality rate sits at 21 per cent.
Nigeria, on the other hand, had the highest mortality rate on the list, at 67 per cent. Pakistan and China also had poor survivability, with mortality rates at 63 per cent, based on data from the World Health Organization.
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in the world. If detected early, it can be one of the easiest to cure.
In Canada, approximately 80,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed here each year. That includes more than 5,000 cases of melanoma -- the mostly deadly form.
Prof. Dietrick Abeck, chief medical adviser for Derma.plus notes that more than 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers and 150,000 melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed each year around the world.
“The incidence of both non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers has increased dramatically over the past decades,” he said in a statement.