Skin Cancer Procedures Outnumber Cosmetic Treatments in 2018

In its seventh annual Survey on Dermatologic Procedures, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) analyzed data from participating physicians to quantify the top medically necessary and cosmetic procedures performed in 2018. Their recent report reveals a continued increase in the number of procedures with more than 12.5 million total treatments last year – a 7.5% increase from 2017 and a 60% jump from 2012.

While body sculpting increased the most in prevalence from the previous year by 43% year, revealing a growing acceptance of cosmetic procedures among the population, other findings raise concern.  The survey found both a continued upward trend in cosmetic procedures, specifically injectables, and a consistently growing incidence of skin cancer treatments – now the most-performed procedure with more than 3.5 million treatments performed in 2018.

Skin Cancer Treatment on the Rise 

According to the ASDS, nearly 10,000 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer per day,  and the rates of melanoma and non-melanoma cancer cases continue to rise. Out of a total 3.5 million skin cancer procedures, 3.35 million treated non-melanoma cancers and 228,000 targeted melanomas. Since 2012, the incidence of melanoma has increased drastically by 56%, while 2018 statistics were up by 19% from the previous year. Similarly, non-melanoma skin cancer cases have increased by 33% in the last seven years, underscoring the continued need for sun protection education and the encouragement of sun-safe habits among the population.

Most Common Cosmetic Procedures in 2018 

Following skin cancer treatments, injectables and body sculpting procedures were some of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures in 2018, experiencing significant growth over the course of the past seven years. Out of a combined total of 3.7 million procedures, 2.1 million neuromodulators or wrinkle relaxing procedures were conducted and 1.6 million soft-tissue filler injections were performed. Injectable neuromodulators, such as Botox, saw an increase of 42% since 2012, while injectable soft-tissue fillers – like Juvéderm and Restylane – grew by 78% in the past seven years; both are projected to continue steadily increasing in future years.

The most statistically significant increase was noted in the number of body sculpting procedures, including fat-freezing and muscle-sculpting, performed in 2018 versus 2017. With a total of 623,000 treatments conducted last year, body contouring procedures increased by 43% from 2017. The total number of body sculpting treatments has increased four-fold since the inception of the survey in 2012. Last year, 287,000 cryolipolysis, 162,000 radiofrequency, 65,000 deoxycholic acid, and 44,000 microfocused ultrasound procedures were performed – among many other non-invasive fat reduction treatments.

These figures represent a shifting approach to cosmetic procedures – especially those that are non-invasive in nature – and a growing acceptance of aesthetic treatments. Despite bringing news of lessened stigmatization and increased accessibility of cosmetic procedures, the ASDS’ Survey on Dermatologic Procedures is an urgent call to action to improve and increase skin cancer prevention strategies so as to reverse the relentlessly growing trend and promote safe-sun habits among the population.

For clinicians looking to deepen their knowledge of the latest education in skin cancer prevention and treatment techniques, South Beach Symposium offers a one-day pre-conference session in partnership with the American Cutaneous Oncology Society. During the South Beach Cutaneous Oncology Symposium on February 6, 2020, industry experts will analyze the most recent treatment approaches, protocols, and procedures, providing attendees with the tools they need to enhance personalized care and outcomes for skin cancer patients. Medical professionals interested in attending the highly specialized, comprehensive Cutaneous Oncology Symposium can register here today.