Cutaneous cancers in Calabar, Southern Nigeria

Maurice E Asuquo, Godwin Ebughe
Dermatology Online Journal 2009, 15 (4): 11
Globally, cutaneous cancers are among the most common form of cancer. Among Africans, there are significant differences in the types of skin cancer compared to those documented in patients from other countries. We evaluated all the patients with a histological diagnosis of skin cancer presenting to the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital from January 2005 through December 2006. Twenty-nine patients (18 males and 11 females) with skin cancer were identified and these accounted for 8.0 percent of total malignancies. Their ages ranged from 16 to 70 years (mean 43.5 years). Kaposi sarcoma (KS) was the most common skin cancer. Kaposi sarcoma associated with HIV represented 81.8 percent of KS cases found. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) ranked second and malignant melanoma third. Of the skin cancers in our series, the most common site was the lower limb (55.2%), followed by the head and neck (24%). The 4 albinos accounted for 13.8 percent of the skin cancers found. Immunosuppression (KS), chronic ulcer, inflammation, albinism, and solar radiation were identified risk factors. Public education strategies on prevention, with an emphasis on early identification and surgical treatment of skin cancers are urged. In addition, treatment of and close observation of chronic ulcers are recommended.

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