When including patients who had a mole check or cancer screening, the proportion of patients with at least 1 dermatological condition or disease increased to 47%; both non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers were among the top 12 skin diseases reported in the study.
Researchers have found a high rate of skin conditions and diseases amongst Europeans, publishing their findings to increase awareness of their respective prevalence.
Across 27 countries, the researchers collected data from over 40,000 patients, finding that 43% of patients had at least 1 dermatological condition or disease within the last 12 months. The researchers noted that, to their knowledge, their findings account for the largest epidemiological population-based study of its kind.
“The knowledge of the prevalence and incidence of diseases is crucial to designing appropriate health care services,” described the researchers. “In particular, the estimation of the prevalence of a chronic condition allows one to evaluate its burden on the health and social care system at a particular point in time. Adequately addressing the prevalence of skin diseases, their impact on patients’ quality of life, and their economic burden is of primary importance in planning health policies," they noted.
When including patients who had a mole check or cancer screening, the proportion of patients with at least 1 dermatological condition or disease increased to 47%. Both non-melanoma and melanoma skin cancers were among the top 12 skin diseases reported in the study.
Non-melanoma skin cancers occurred among 1.1% of patients, with an estimated prevalence of 1110 per 100,000 persons, and melanoma skin cancer occurred among 0.6% of patients, with an estimated prevalence of 600 per 100,000 persons.
“Data concerning skin cancer are probably biased for various reasons. For example, in our study a high prevalence of melanoma was reported, probably due to the fact that people may confuse the diagnosis of melanoma and the presence of nevi,” explained the researchers. “On the other side, the overall prevalence of skin cancer in our study was low. It is possible that the patient is not always aware that, eg, basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer. Then, probably, people do not always consult a dermatologist for skin cancer, since its manifestations are not generally as impairing as other skin conditions.”
According to the researchers, there was a higher prevalence of skin cancers reported among young adults, which they say is likely due to a growing awareness of skin cancer prevention measures among the age group. Non-melanoma skin cancers were reported in 1.3% of patients aged between 18-25 years compared with 1% of patients aged between 26-54 years and 1.1% of patients aged 55 years and older. Melanoma skin cancers were reported in 0.9% of patients aged between 18-25 years compared with 0.6% of patients aged between 26-54 years and 0.5% among patients aged 55 years and older.
Compared with older adults, younger adults were also more likely to have acne and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Fungal skin infections were the most commonly reported condition (8.9%), followed by acne (5.4%), atopic dermatitis or eczema (5.5%), and psoriasis (3.9%). While alopecia, acne, eczema, and rosacea were more common among the women included in the study, psoriasis and STIs were more common among the men.
Richard MA, Paul C, Nijsten T, et al. Prevalence of most common skin diseases in Europe: a population-based study. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. Published online March 11, 2022. doi:10.1111/jdv.18050