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Factors Influencing Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer: Trends in Sun Exposure and Comorbidities

By: Amanda E. Ruffino, BA
Posted: Monday, March 4, 2024

Elena Campione, MD, of the University of Tor Vergata, Rome, and colleagues aimed to elucidate the impact of various exposure-related factors and comorbidities on non-melanoma skin cancer development. Among 546 patients with non-melanoma skin cancer, those with comorbidities had a higher prevalence of actinic keratoses, whereas basal cell carcinoma was more common in patients with a history of melanoma. The investigators identified associations between squamous cell carcinoma and specific comorbidities, such as arterial hypertension, chronic heart failure, and hematologic neoplasms.

The study employed descriptive and inferential statistical analyses to compare continuous and dichotomous variables among the patient cohort. The Charlson Comorbidity Index was calculated to assess the 10-year survival rate and determine the average comorbidity burden.

Men constituted 61.5% of the patient population, emphasizing a perhaps sex-related disparity in non-melanoma skin cancer incidence. Men appeared to be affected more than women, and chronic sun exposure was significantly correlated with squamous cell carcinoma, whereas basal cell carcinoma was linked to a history of sunburns.

According to the investigators, there seems to be a differential impact of various environmental and behavioral factors on distinct non-melanoma skin cancer subtypes. Of note, the correlation between specific non-melanoma skin cancer types and comorbidities suggested potential shared pathophysiologic mechanisms or predisposing factors.

Additionally, age played a significant role, with basal cell carcinoma being more prevalent in younger patients and squamous cell carcinoma in older age groups. These findings have important clinical implications for risk stratification, preventive strategies, and targeted screening efforts tailored to specific patient demographics and risk profiles, they noted.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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