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Healthcare Insights

What are the most common skin cancer diagnoses and tumors?

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. It is so common that one in five people develop skin cancer by age 70. In fact, just five or more sunburns during childhood and adolescence increases your risk of skin cancer by at least 68%.

Below we listed the 15 most common skin cancer diagnoses and tumors in 2022 using the Definitive Healthcare All-Payor Claims dataset.

Top 15 skin cancer and tumor diagnoses in 2022

RankICD-10 codeICD-10 descriptionPercent of skin cancer and tumor diagnoses in U.S. in 2022Explore dataset
1D485Neoplasm of uncertain behavior of skin24.90%Explore
2D1801Hemangioma of skin and subcutaneous tissue10.30%Explore
3D492Neoplasm of unspecified behavior of bone, soft tissue, and skin4.80%Explore
4C44319Basal cell carcinoma of skin of other parts of face3.60%Explore
5D235Other benign neoplasm of skin of trunk3.60%Explore
6C44519Basal cell carcinoma of skin of other part of trunk2.60%Explore
7D239Other benign neoplasm of skin, unspecified2.60%Explore
8C44311Basal cell carcinoma of skin of nose2.50%Explore
9C439Malignant melanoma of skin, unspecified2.30%Explore
10C44329Squamous cell carcinoma of skin of other parts of face2.00%Explore
11C4442Squamous cell carcinoma of skin of scalp and neck1.90%Explore
12D171Benign lipomatous neoplasm of skin and subcutaneous tissue of trunk1.80%Explore
13C4441Basal cell carcinoma of skin of scalp and neck1.80%Explore
14D2371Other benign neoplasm of skin of right lower limb, including hip1.50%Explore
15D2372Other benign neoplasm of skin of left lower limb, including hip1.50%Explore

Fig. 1. Data comes from the Definitive Healthcare All-Payor Claims dataset for the calendar year 2022. Claims data is sourced from multiple medical claims clearinghouses in the United States and updated monthly. Data accessed June 2023.

What are the most common skin cancer diagnoses?

The most common type of skin cancer diagnosis in 2022 was neoplasm of uncertain behavior of skin (ICD-10 code D485). A neoplasm is an abnormal tissue mass that is either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Neoplasm of uncertain behaviors is the term documented when a pathologist is unable to diagnose the mass as benign or malignant. This diagnosis tops the list as a pathologist may not be able to identify whether a skin mass is or has the potential to become cancerous from one biopsy.

The second most common type of diagnosis in 2022 was hemangioma of skin and subcutaneous tissue (ICD-10 code D1801). A hemangioma is a benign growth of excess blood vessels in the skin. Though it is considered a tumor, it is non-cancerous.

In third is neoplasm of unspecified behavior of bone, soft tissue, and skin (ICD-10 code D492). This is the documented term used when the provider requires a pathology report prior to making a final diagnosis of a skin mass.

What are the different types of skin cancer?

There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

Basal cell carcinoma forms in the skin’s basal cells and often results in a bump or lesion outside of the epidermis, or the outside skin layer. Basal cell carcinoma is both the most common cancer overall and the most common skin cancer. It is also the most common specified diagnosis in the list of skin cancer and tumor diagnoses above, appearing three times.

Squamous cell carcinoma occurs in the epidermis from an overproduction of the skin’s squamous cells. Less common than basal cell carcinoma, this type of skin cancer appears twice in our list of the 15 most common types of skin cancer and tumor diagnoses.

Both basal and squamous cell carcinomas are typically treated by removing the cancer and affected areas from the skin.

Melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, originates from melanocytes. Melanocytes are the cells that produce melanin which gives skin color. Melanoma is typically treated with surgery to remove the cancer and some of the surrounding healthy skin. Since melanoma poses a higher risk for death, early detection is critical for patients with this type of skin cancer. Though melanoma only accounts for 1% of skin cancers, malignant melanoma of skin, unspecified does appear in the top 15 most common skin cancer and tumor diagnoses.

What causes skin cancer?

Skin cancer is caused by over-exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. Though it is most commonly caused by sun exposure, skin cancer can also occur in areas that are not typically exposed to UV rays.

Who treats skin cancer?

A skin cancer care team may be composed of many different healthcare providers, including but not limited to, a dermatologist, a surgical, medical, or radiation oncologist, an oncology nurse, and a pathologist.

A dermatologist specializes in dermatology, a branch of medicine focused on skin and diseases affecting it.

An oncologist diagnoses and treats patients with cancer. Surgical oncologists treat cancer with surgery, medical oncologists treat cancer with medicine, and radiation oncologists treat cancer with radiation. Oncology nurses often work with the team of physicians to care for the patient.

Pathologists work in a lab to examine tissues and fluids for cancer cells. They then write a report for oncologists to help them determine the condition and treatment for skin cancer.

Specialists on the care team may also include nutritionists, pain management specialists, social workers, and a palliative care team.

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Healthcare Insights are developed with healthcare commercial intelligence from the Definitive Healthcare platform. Want even more insights? Start a free trial now and get access to the latest healthcare commercial intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers.