Background: Skin cancer is an important, growing public health problem among white caucasians, causing a heavy burden on dermatologists and general practitioners.
Objectives: To predict the future incidence of skin cancer in the Netherlands up to 2015.
Methods: Expected numbers of skin cancer cases in the Netherlands up to 2015 were calculated by trend modelling of observed rates for melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) between 1989 and 2000 obtained from the Netherlands Cancer Registry and for basal cell carcinoma (BCC) obtained from the Eindhoven Cancer Registry; these rates were then multiplied by the predicted age distributions. Incidence rates were fitted to four different models, and predictions were based on the best fitting model.
Results: An increase of 80% in the total number of skin cancer patients is expected in the Netherlands: from 20 654 in 2000 to 37 342 in 2015. The total number of melanoma cases is expected to increase by 99%, with the largest increase for males (males aged 35-64, 111%; males aged > or = 65, 139%). Numbers of patients with SCC will increase overall by 80%, mainly among older males and females (increase of 79%) and females aged 35-64 (increase of 93%). The number of cases of BCC will increase by 78%, with the largest increase for the combined groups, those aged 15-64 (males, 66% increase; females, 94% increase), especially for sites other than the head and neck. The contribution of demographic changes (ageing effect) was largest for males with BCC and SCC (35-44%).
Conclusions: If incidence rates for skin cancers in the Netherlands continue to increase and population growth and ageing remain unabated, a rise in annual demand for care of more than 5% could occur, putting a heavy burden on general practitioners and dermatologists. In the absence of marked changes in current ultraviolet radiation exposure, these increases will probably continue after 2015.