Epidemiology of skin tumors: data from the cutaneous cancer registry in Trentino, Italy

Sebastiana Boi, Mario Cristofolini, Rocco Micciolo, Enzo Polla, Paolo Dalla Palma
Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery 2003, 7 (4): 300-5

BACKGROUND: A Skin Cancer Registry was established in the province of Trento in northeast Italy in 1992 with the aim of collecting data on all cutaneous tumors affecting residents. These neoplasms are responsible for considerable morbidity and utilization of the Health Service because of their high frequency and, therefore, knowledge of the exact incidence is very important in planning health policies. Registry data are also very helpful in performing studies of analytical and descriptive epidemiology.

METHODS: For each patient, we collected personal data, phenotypical characteristics, professional history, concurrent diseases, previous therapy or trauma, and all data regarding the tumors. Patients were interviewed in person or, less frequently, by phone. All data were verified and put in a computerized file, in a protected room. The Statistics Institute of Trento University analyzed the data. Comparison among means was performed using the analysis of variance and differences among proportions were tested by chi-squared analysis. Poisson regression and the likelihood ratio test were used to compare incidence rates. We analyze here the data regarding epiteliomas and melanoma.

RESULTS: During the study period we registered 3435 primary skin tumors in 2868 individuals. Crude incidence rates, calculated using the number of subjects (not the number of tumors), were 87.9 for basal cell carcinoma (BCC), 28.9 for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and 14.2 for cutaneous melanoma (CM), per 100,000 per annum. We also calculated the same figures in females and males and specific incidence rates in both sexes and evaluated the distribution of skin cancer according to sex and anatomical site.

CONCLUSION: We report the analysis of the data collected by the Skin Cancer registry in a 6 year period and compare the data with published data in literature and with data of a previously registered melanoma file. Our results confirm the high incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancers and the variation in the histological patterns of CM.

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