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Press Release

Apr 28, 2022

New data shows a record 224,000 skin cancers in England in 2019

New data shows a record 224,000 skin cancers in England in 2019

NHS Digital data released as part of the National Disease Registration Service (NDRS) Get Data Out (GDO) programme shows that there were 224,000 skin cancers in England in 2019 and over 1.4 million skin cancers between 2013-2019. This makes skin cancer the most common cancer diagnosed in England.

This data release is the most up-to-date data available on skin cancer in England and has been made possible through a partnership between the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) and NDRS.

The data shows that the incidence of skin cancer in England has increased from 177,677 in 2013 to 224,092 in 2019, a 26.1% increase over six years. While it is not possible to give a definitive explanation for this increase, it is likely that the ageing population, changing sun exposure behaviours and improvements to cancer registration may be responsible.

The GDO release also shows:

  • There were 15,332 melanomas in 2019, up from 12,885 in 2013
  • There were 47,977 cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (cSCC) in 2019, up from 34,672 in 2013
  • There were 158,934 basal cell carcinomas (BCC) in 2019, up from 128,406 in 2013
  • There were 1,849 rare skin cancers in 2019, up from 1,714 in 2013
  • Most skin cancers are referred along the urgent suspected cancer or routine GP referral route. Rare skin cancers and cSCC are less likely than melanoma skin cancers to be referred down the urgent cancer referral pathway.

New data on skin cancer survival rates have also been released. This found that:

  • The prognosis for early-stage melanomas (in situ and stage 1) is excellent, with a 5-year net survival rate of around 100%. This drops to around 25% 5-year survival for stage 4 melanoma, highlighting the importance of the early detection of melanoma.
  • cSCCs are the second most common skin cancer and have been found to have comparable survival rates to melanoma, prostate and breast cancer. Despite similar survival rates, the recorded number of deaths directly resulting from non-melanoma skin cancers (794 deaths in 2020) were lower than for melanoma (2007 deaths in 2020).1 This means that people with an cSCC may have other linked risk factors for dying such as age-related deterioration of their immune system.
  • BCCs are the most common cancer in England and have a very low risk of leading to death.
  • The skin cancers with the worst survival rates are some of the less common cancers such as Merkel cell carcinoma, skin appendageal carcinomas and sarcomas as well as common skin cancers in unusual sites such as genital cSCCs and melanomas on the genitals, hands and feet.

Dr Tanya Bleiker, President of the British Association of Dermatologists, said:

“We are fast approaching a quarter of a million skin cancer cases a year in England. To put this in context, we estimate that one in five people will have a skin cancer in their lifetime.

“While more needs to be done to prevent skin cancer in this country, we also need to increase the resources available to tackle the rise in cases. Currently, it is estimated that there is the equivalent of 508 full-time consultant dermatologists working in England. If these doctors and their colleagues are to meet the challenge of managing a quarter of million skin cancer cases a year, then they will need more resources and better workforce planning.”

Dr Zoe Venables, Dermatology Consultant and Clinical Lead, National Disease Registration Service at NHS Digital, said:

“This data will help the NHS to understand which skin cancers pose the greatest risk to patients. Healthcare services can therefore be planned to ensure these are diagnosed and managed earlier.

“This is the first time that incidence, referral routes and survival data for a majority of the subtypes of skin cancers have ever been published. It highlights the need for greater public awareness of skin cancers, particularly non-melanoma skin cancers which might not present as a changing mole but instead as a changing or non-healing lump, ulcer or scab.”



Notes to Editors

  1. Office National statistics – Mortality statistics – underlying cause, sex and age (

All this data is publicly available online via the NHS cancer data website, here.

Further information about skin cancer detection is available via the BAD’s Patient Hub, here.

For more information, please contact the media team:, 0207 391 6084.

About the BAD

The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) is the professional membership body for dermatologists in the UK. Founded in 1920, the BAD is a registered charity representing over 2,400 members, dedicated to medical education, professional practice and standards, and research in dermatology.

For further information about the charity, visit

About NDRS

The National Disease Registration Service (NDRS) is part of NHS Digital.  Its purpose is to collect, collate and analyse data on patients with cancer, congenital anomalies and rare diseases.  It provides robust surveillance to monitor and detect changes in health and disease in the population.

NDRS is a vital resource that helps researchers, healthcare professionals and policy makers make decisions about NHS services and the treatments people receive.