Epidemiological study of basal cell carcinoma in a community hospital


  • Virginia Mariana González
  • Santiago Pablo Busso
  • Rita Leitner
  • Gabriel Casas
  • Margarita Larralde


Introduction. Even though basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most frequent human neoplasm, there are no precise statistics on this entity. In order to learn about the epidemiologic characteristics of our population we conducted a prospective, descriptive and transversal study.
Objective. To determine clinical, histopathological and demographic characteristics, and known risk factors of BCC in our population.
Materials and methods. Complete clinical history and histopathologic confi rmation were performed for all patients with BCC that consulted the Hospital Aleman Dermatology Department between June 2007 and May 2008.
Results. The sample size consisted of 125 patients and 222 lesions. Sixty eight percent had only one lesion. The ages ranged from 32 to 103 years of age, with an average of 66 years. Forty one percent were females and 59 percent were males, with a male:female ratio 1.4:1. Ninety three percent of patients had phototypes II and III, with intense recreational sun exposure and severe photodamage. Thirty four percent had personal history of skin cancer. The distribution of lesions was as follows: 46 percent in head and neck, 27 percent in trunk, and 17 percent in limbs. The superfi cial form was the most frequent clinical type seen in trunk and limbs. The infi ltrative growth histopathological variant prevailed in head, neck and limbs (41 percent), and the superfi cial variant prevailed in trunk (54 percent).
Conclusion. In the studied population, the more aff ected age range was 60 to 69 years, with higher prevalence in male patients, except for those younger than 40 years. A high percentage of patients had a personal history of skin cancer, and showed multiple simultaneous lesions. Most patients were of phototypes II and III, with a high degree of photodamage and of intense intermittent sun exposure (73 percent). Nevertheless, only 20 percent used sun exposure protection measures. Unlike what has been published, we found a lower percentage of head and neck involvement (46 percent), and a higher number of aggressive clinical and histopathological forms. Finally, we stressed the importance of carrying out epidemiological studies as the one hereby presented, which provide relevant data about our population, taking into account that no prospective studies have been recently published

(Dermatol Argent 2009; 15(1):37-43).

Key words
: basal cell carcinoma, skin cancer, epidemiology.