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A Profile of Basal Cell Carcinoma in Western Cape, South Africa

By: Vanessa A. Carter, BS
Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2022

A retrospective study conducted by Justine C. Gallo, MBChB, of Tygerberg Academic Hospital, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, and colleagues aimed to elucidate the clinicopathologic features of patients with basal cell carcinoma residing in South Africa. The results of this trial, published in the Journal of Skin Cancer, concluded that basal cell carcinoma in Western Cape is histologically and clinically similar to that of international reports.

“This study emphasizes the need for prevention and early diagnostic strategies that might mitigate the rising incidence of basal cell carcinoma in the local context,” concluded the study authors. “Furthermore, early surgical management of basal cell carcinomas will improve patients’ outcomes and reduce the risk of future complications.”

This study focused on the medical records of 149 patients with basal cell carcinoma who were treated at Tygerberg Academic Hospital from September 2015 to August 2016. Clinical records were searched for clinical and demographic data of participants with basal cell carcinoma, and such data included the assessment of carcinoma recurrence after 3 years.

Most patients were White (85.9%), many were male (55.7%), and the median patient age was 70. It was noted that 43.1% of patients had basal cell carcinoma lesions for 12 months before being diagnosed; the head/neck area was the most common site of lesions (58.1%). Approximately 72% of basal cell carcinoma cases were confirmed via diagnostic punch biopsy, and plastic surgeons excised the lesions soon after diagnosis in 74% of patients.

Nodular basal cell carcinoma was found to be the most common histologic subtype, affecting 74% of individuals. According to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology, the risk of recurrence was distributed evenly among high-risk (54.1%) and low-risk (45.9%) populations. Of note, the most significant high-risk feature was the location of lesions, and basal cell carcinoma recurred in nine patients over 3 years.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.


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