Auckland has the highest reported incidence of invasive non-melanoma skin cancers in the world

January 31, 2018


As the New Zealand Cancer Registry does not require mandatory reporting of non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC), basal cell carcinomas (BCC) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), the clinical burden of these diseases is unknown.

A retrospective review of all patients with histopathology performed allowed us to estimate invasive BCC and SCC in the Auckland region in 2008 (population 1.44 million).

During this period, a total of 21 236 NMSC were diagnosed among 13 996 patients, consisting of 5611 SCC lesions (26%) and 15 525 (74%) BCC. The Auckland incidence rates per 100 000 were 425 for SCC and 1177 for BCC. The overall rate of NMSC per 100 000 was 1906.5 (standardised to the census data of Australia 2001); 1385 for BCC and 522 for SCC. Using published data on incidence trends and population growth, we estimate that 29 000–33 000 NMSC would have been excised in Auckland in 2016, and 78 000–87 000 in New Zealand.

Auckland has the highest reported incidence of invasive NMSC in the world. We believe that high-risk cutaneous SCC and complex BCC should be recorded. Our study provides information for clinicians and health economists on the scale of the problem.


Pondicherry, A., Martin, R., Meredith, I., Rolfe, J., Emanuel, P. and Elwood, M. (2018), The burden of non-melanoma skin cancers in Auckland, New Zealand. Australas J Dermatol.

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