Skin cancers: data and facts

The most updated source for worldwide cancer data is represented by the GLOBOCAN 2020 report of the International Agency of Cancer Research (IACR).

The report (, belonging to WHO, was issued in December 2020. The GLOBOCAN 2020, part of IARC’s Global Cancer Observatory (GCO), is an online database providing global cancer statistics and estimates of incidence, mortality and prevalence in 185 countries for 36 types of cancer.  

Data of GLOBOCAN 2020 is based on incidence and mortality trends from past years; therefore, the effect of COVID 19 is not considered. We can assume that because of the lockdown there have been possible delays in cancer diagnoses.  Unfortunately, the quality and coverage of cancer data are unsatisfactory particularly for low - and middle-income countries; to overcome this issue IARC launched the Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development (GICR). 

For Europe – in addition to Globocan 2020 - the main source of information is represented by the European Cancer Information System (ECIS) ( It was launched in 2018 and considers the data submitted by population-based European cancer registries (PCR). Unfortunately, ECIS does not consider “non-melanoma skin cancers”; its analysis is limited to melanoma. 

On the contrary the Globocan report includes both melanoma (MM) and non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) even if the data related to NMSC lacks in reliability since in several countries it is not common to report NMSC cases in a systematic and reliable way. In addition, data of incidence excludes basal cell carcinomas (BCC) that on the contrary are included in mortality data.