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New Sanofi report calls for urgent action in skin cancer

A new report from Sanofi is calling for urgent action after the UK’s most common cancer, non-melanoma skin cancer, found to have no national consensus on patient referral and management

The report, which has been endorsed by Skin Cancer UK, shows that non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is severely under-recognised and under-prioritised by national health systems throughout the UK1.

While NMSC is the most common cancer in the UK (with more cases than breast, bowel, and prostate cancer combined)2 and becoming increasingly prevalent3, there is no up to date, comprehensive national clinical guidelines on the referral and management of NMSC, no consistent definition of NMSCs, and delays in accessing the correct profssionals1.

However, if detected early, NMSC can be successfully treated. Results from the report, which surveyed 95 UK skin cancer experts, including Dermatologists (n=35), Oncologists (n=30), and Surgeons (n=30) from the UK, show 97% of respondents believe a national guideline on the referral and management of NMSC patients must be published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)1, with 96% saying that if published, their local health system should implement the national NMSC guideline including putting a full patient pathway in place1.

Further survey findings demonstrate that 93% agree a national NMSC guideline would improve patient outcomes1, and 87% feel it would reduce time to a definitive diagnosis1.

Gill Nuttall, CEO, Skin Cancer UK said: “There is no up to date, comprehensive, national clinical guideline available on the referral and management of NMSC patients in the UK. The consequence is multiple, inconsistent local and national guidelines and pathways, with some areas not having any framework in place for these patients at all. Regional variations between the definition used to distinguish NMSCs, speed and access to the correct professionals, and time to diagnosis are resulting in a postcode lottery for patients, which is putting thousands of patients’ lives at risk. We’re keen to work together with NICE, NHS England, SIGN in Scotland, and other stakeholders to provide a unified, up-to-date national guideline.”

Anju Bhalla, Head of Oncology & Haemato-Oncology, Sanofi UK & Ireland said: “There is no better time to discuss skin cancer than right now, and focus on NMSC is particularly important. One of the critical recommendations from our report is NMSC should be established as a priority in national cancer policy. The Department for Health and Social Care, as well as national health systems, have an opportunity to increase the prioritisation of skin cancer. We encourage immediate action to drive momentum in service provision and improve patient outcomes.”


1 Sanofi Data on File

2 British Association of Dermatologists (BAD). One in five people in England will develop a non-melanoma skin cancer in their lifetime. November 2021. Available at: https://www.skinhealthinfo.org.uk/one-in-five-people-in-england-will-develop-a-non-melanoma-skin-cancer-in-their-lifetime/ Last accessed: November 2022

3 Cancer Research UK. Non-melanoma skin cancer statistics, Available at: https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/non-melanoma-skin-cancer#heading-One Last accessed: November 2022

4 NHS England. 2022/23 priorities and operational planning guidance, 2022. Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/20211223-B1160-2022-23- priorities-and-operational-planning-guidance-v3.2.pdf Last accessed: November 2022

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Emma Cooper
Emma Cooper
Emma is Content Manager at Pf Media.


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