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3a.05 Epidemiology of Skin Cancer

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The chance of developing a skin cancer in British Columbia, Canada is approximately 1 in 7, over a lifetime. This corresponds to perhaps 1 in 3 for a white population in California, and even higher for a white population in Queensland, Australia. Skin cancer is by far the most common kind of cancer diagnosed in Canada.

The most common skin cancer diagnosed in Canada is basal cell carcinoma. In areas of very high sun exposure such as Queensland, Australia, squamous carcinoma is more common. The chance of developing a malignant melanoma during a lifetime, in North America, is in the order of 1 in 100. This is a startling increase over the figures of, for instance 1935 when the rate was 1 in 1,500. The difference is presumably accounted for in out-of-doors leisure activities.

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