Clinical characteristics of basal cell carcinoma in a tertiary hospital in Sarawak, Malaysia

Felix Boon Bin Yap
International Journal of Dermatology 2010, 49 (2): 176-9

BACKGROUND: Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common skin cancer among Orientals. Data on this malignancy is lacking in Malaysia, prompting a retrospective study to determine the clinical characteristics in the skin clinic, Sarawak General Hospital between 2000 and 2008.

METHODS: Demographic data and clinical features of 64 histopathologically proven BCC from 43 patients were retrieved. Statistical analysis was performed comparing the clinical characteristics based on the region of involvement and gender.

RESULTS: The mean age of presentation was 60.9 years. Male to female ratio was 1.05. Majority of the patients were Chinese (44.2%) followed by Malays (32.6%), Bidayuhs (14.0%) and Ibans (6.9%). Nodular BCC accounted for 95.3% of cases while 4.7% were superficial BCC. All the nodular BCC were pigmented. Ulceration was noted in 18%. There were 82.8% of BCC on the head and neck region and 17.2% on the trunk and limb region. BCC on the latter region were larger (mean 35.0 cf. 14.4 mm, p < 0.001) and ulcerated (45.5% cf. 11.3%, p = 0.01). Superficial BCC were also more frequently encountered in this region (18.2% cf. 1.9%, p = 0.02). Compared to women, men had larger BCC (mean 21.1 cf. 13.3 mm, p = 0.03) and kept them for a longer duration (mean 21.6 cf. 13.3 months, p = 0.04).

CONCLUSION: Clinical characteristics of BCC in Sarawak were similar to other Asian studies. Additionally, BCC on the trunk and limbs and in men were larger, ulcerative and long standing warranting better efforts for earlier detection.

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