NICE issues new skin cancer guidelines

In collaboration with the Press Association

New skin cancer guidelines issued by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend integrating specialists into skin cancer care teams.

The restructuring will bring skin cancer care into line with other areas of the NHS Cancer Care Plan and for first time will integrate community services into the system.

While skin cancer is largely curable, a sudden increase in the number of cases has placed specialist care under severe strain.

"The numbers of new cases of skin cancer diagnosed continue to rise year on year," said Dr Julia Verne, chair of the NICE guideline development group.

"It is important that wherever people are diagnosed and treated that they have access to the same high quality standard of care from trained professionals.

"This guidance should ensure improved standards of care for skin cancer patients across England and Wales and that the development of these services is patient focused," she added.

Skin cancer incidence has more than doubled over the past decade due to increased UV light exposure from both natural and artificial sources.

They now make up the most common group of cancers in the UK, with about 60,000 new cases diagnosed every year in England and Wales, making up 20 per cent of all cancers detected.

Because of differences in the way new cases are registered across the country this is unlikely to be an accurate figure says NICE, with one estimate placing the figure at as high as 125,000 new cases a year.