Health Union Survey Finds Skin Cancer Recurrence Often Linked to More Risk Factors, Lower Quality of Life
PHILADELPHIA — June 20, 2019 — A new survey from Health Union reveals skin cancer recurrences are often linked to a bevy of risk factors and lower quality of life. The survey, titled Skin Cancer In America 2019, illuminates the perspectives and experiences of people living with skin cancer.
Recurrences are common among people with skin cancer, with six out of 10 survey respondents reporting they have had a recurrence. Recurrences occurred more often with certain types of skin cancer. For example, less than four in 10 respondents with melanoma have had a melanoma recurrence; at the same time, two-thirds with basal cell carcinoma (BCC) have had BCC recurrences and 57% with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) have had SCC recurrences. In fact, more than a third of those with BCC, 27% with SCC and more than half of people with dysplastic nevus syndrome/atypical mole syndrome – a rare condition – have had at least three recurrences of those respective conditions.
The findings suggest a connection between recurrences and a higher volume of risk factors. Respondents who have had recurrences were more likely than those who have never had a recurrence to say they have a family history of skin cancer, live or lived in a sunny or high-altitude area, experienced blistering sunburns and have fair skin or skin that easily sunburns. They were also more likely to say that, before being diagnosed, they never wore clothing that covered their skin in the sun.
Unsurprisingly, respondents who have only been diagnosed once are more likely to say their skin cancer is under control with their current treatment plan. Those with recurrences were more likely to say they have had conversations about certain treatments, such as targeted therapy and topical prescription medications. They are also more likely to have undergone procedures for repairing damage from skin cancer, such as skin graft procedures or reconstructive surgery, while people without recurrence were more likely to say they haven’t had any such procedures.
Respondents who have never experienced a recurrence also tended to rate certain aspects of their quality of life more positively than those who have been diagnosed multiple times. Respondents who have only been diagnosed once were more likely than those who have had recurrences to feel their condition hasn’t kept them from doing things they enjoy and doesn’t make them feel like a burden when sharing their concerns or feelings with others. They are also more likely to have positive perceptions of their ability to work and sleep without any problems.
Due to a high likelihood of skin cancer recurrence – whether or not one has occurred – it remains an important topic for people living with the condition. More than half of all survey respondents identified recurrence risks as the top topic of interest when seeking skin cancer information.
“Recurrence is an important concern for people at all stages of the skin cancer journey, whether individuals have had multiple recurrences, diagnosed once or if they are currently NED,” said Tim Armand, co-founder and president of Health Union. “Therefore, it’s important for these people to have a community, like SkinCancer.net, where they can feel connected, understood and validated.”
Skin Cancer In America 2019 surveyed 1,013 respondents living with skin cancer from Jan. 15 to Mar. 29, 2019. A summary infographic of the results is available on SkinCancer.net; additional survey results may be available upon request.
About Health Union
Health Union encourages social interactions that evolve into valuable online health conversations, helping people with chronic conditions find the information, connection, and validation they seek. The company creates condition-specific online communities – publishing original, daily content and continuously cultivating social conversation – to support, educate and connect millions of people with challenging, chronic health concerns. Today, the Health Union family of brands includes 22 online health communities, including SkinCancer.net, ParkinsonsDisease.net, MultipleSclerosis.net, and Type2Diabetes.com.