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A Journal on Surgery

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Chirurgia 2001 February;14(1):29-34


language: Italian

A study on the surgical epidemiology of non-melanoma skin cancer. Consequences on diagnosis and treatment

Pellicano P., Quatra F., Colonna M., Soliera L., Delia G.


Background. To check if non-melanoma skin cancer in our area follows the same trends observed in existing studies, performed on a quite different population.
Methods. Retrospective study of clinical and pathologic records of 233 patients operated during a twelve-month period at the department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Results. A slight prevalence of males (55%) resulted not statistically significant. About 60% of the patients aged over 60 but cases younger than 40 were also observed. Mean age for squamous cell carcinoma (75.2 years) was significantly higher than for basal cell carcinoma (69.7 years). Frequency distribution according to age groups was unimodal, anyway, with a single peak. Basal cell carcinoma accounted for 81% of the total, squamous cell carcinoma about 19%. The upper two-thirds of the face were mostly involved. In about 25% of cases, primary closure of the residual defect was impossible and some kind of reconstructive procedure had to be performed.
Conclusions. Most data observed agree with existing studies, except for the lack of prevalence of male patients. It may be due to local differences in the exposure to risk factors or to a changed epidemiology of non-melanoma skin cancer. Our data also confirmed that non-melanoma skin cancer is not exclusive of the elderly. The need for some kind of reconstruction in about one fourth of patients is an indicator of the prevalence of delayed diagnosis in this population.

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