dr. Isabelle Hoorens (MD, PhD)
postdoctoral researcher, FWO – Dermatology research unit (DRU), Ghent University Hospital (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UGent)
resident – Department of Dermatology (University Hospital Ghent)
member of the scientific advisory committee of the Belgian Dermoscopy Group (BDG)
Principal investigator: prof. Lieve Brochez (MD,PhD)
Skin cancer is by far the most frequent cancer worldwide and we previously modelled that the number of skin cancer patients will triple over the next 20 years. Non-melanoma skin cancer is responsible for about 90% of all skin cancers and originate from keratinocytes, called basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The remaining 10% of skin cancers are melanomas, arising from malignant degeneration of melanocytes and are responsible for more than 400 deaths a year in Belgium.
Based on our previous research, a high economic burden of skin cancer in Belgium resulted in a total of €107 million in 2014 and a cumulative cost that will add up to €3.2 billion by 2034. Although they have a relatively benign course, non-melanoma skin cancer accounts for 35.2% of these costs. Since their number and cost is predicted to triple by 2034 an evidence-based management approach is needed. Dermatologist-led screening of the population for non-melanoma skin cancer does not add to lowering their treatment costs. It is also clear that there is a lack of studies evaluating the health and cost-effectiveness balance of non-melanoma skin cancer treatment and follow-up guidelines.
With this project we will map the impact of non-melanoma skin cancer on the quality of life, and characterize the natural behavior of basal cell carcinomas using in vivo state of the art imaging techniques. This will allow us to implement more cost-effective treatment procedures and follow-up regimens for these patients in daily practice. In addition, our group is interested in the development and clinical validation of devices for early diagnosis of skin cancer, and working on the clinical validation of artificial intelligence for skin cancer diagnostics.