PART II - HEALTH CONDITIONS
5. HEALTH IMPACTS OF NON COMMUNICABLE DISEASES AND RELATED TIME-TRENDS
5.11. Dermatological diseases
5.11.6. Future developments
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What is clear from the analysis of the available data
section is that: i) skin disease is very common ii) some skin diseases such as
skin cancer are becoming more common; and iii) that future demand for skin
services is likely to increase due to the growing consumer awareness and the
society’s attitudes towards people with skin impairments (Williams, 1997). It
is evident that skin diseases can profoundly influence the quality of life of
affected people and that their economic consequences can also be high. Research
into the causes of skin disease is still in its infancy, but there are already
clear indications that some skin diseases can be prevented to some degree.
There appear to be at least four major knowledge priority gaps to be filled in
relation to the epidemiology of skin disease in Europe:
The first gap is the complete absence of any comparative
prevalence surveys of skin disease in general involving more than one country.
Even though skin diseases have the advantage of being easily visible, such
population-based surveys are difficult and costly to conduct. They nevertheless
would provide an essential foundation of data on which to plan appropriate
The second gap could be filled by exploring the evidence
of effectiveness for the various health care systems that currently operate
within Europe. Such an evaluation should begin with the users’ perspective in
mind. These studies could initially be observational studies based on data
already collected within current systems and could, then, progress to more
elaborate controlled intervention studies.
The third priority is to invest in epidemiological
research that seeks to find out the causes of skin diseases which could, in
turn, improve treatment and lead to a more effective disease prevention.
The fourth is to develop better links and coordination
between epidemiology and laboratory research to ensure that laboratory research
priorities are more guided by important clinical questions.
In conclusion, urgent research into the prevalence,
incidence and cost of skin diseases is required in order to formulate more
effective public health strategies to respond to the impending crisis of the
increased demand for services.