Increasing skin cancer diagnoses putting pressure on Dutch hospitals

Dermatologist examining a woman's skin
Dermatologist examining a woman's skinPhoto: imagepointfr/DepositPhotos

The number of skin cancer diagnoses in the Netherlands continues to rise sharply and that is putting increasing pressure on hospitals, according to a report by Dutch cancer center IKNL. If no changes are made in how skin cancer care is organized, the pressure on hospitals will increase enormously in the coming years, the authors warn. At this stage the increase in skin cancer cases is faster than the Dutch population is aging, the report states, NOS reports.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the Netherlands. The number of skin cancer cases is also rising the fastest. 52 percent of all cancer diagnoses in the country are skin cancer. Breast cancer is a distant second place with 12 percent. Almost 70 thousand new patients are diagnosed with skin cancer per year. On average, that is about 900 new patients per hospital per year, according to IKNL. 

The main cause of skin cancer is excessive exposure to UV radiation by the sun or in a sunbed. 

According to the IKNL, more efficient organization of care for skin cancer, in which general practitioners and dermatologists work together, is desperately needed. There must also be even more attention for prevention, to slow down the rise in this kind of cancer. Less exposure to the sun and tanning salons, and the careful use of sunscreen can stop the increase in skin cancer. The IKNL calls on the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sports to take the lead and come up with a national plan of action.