Non-melanoma skin cancer and solar keratoses are common in Australia due to a combination of recent fashions in a predominantly fairskinned population in intense sunlight. Between 2–3% of the population aged 40 years and over have at least one non-melanoma skin cancer, and more than 40% of the same population have at least one solar keratosis (the majority having more than one).
Squamous cell carcinoma arising on sun-exposed areas has a significant rate of metastasis. The clinical diagnosis of these tumors is often inaccurate, and biopsy is essential to confirm all diagnoses of not only squamous cell carcinoma, but also basal cell carcinoma.
Public education programmes are necessary to reduce the major public health problem that non-melanoma skin cancer currently presents in Australia.