Research

Primary cutaneous malignancies in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa: A retrospective histopathological review

K York, N C Dlova, C Y Wright, N P Khumalo, P E Kellett, R Kassanjee, A Mosam

Abstract


Background. Excessive sun exposure and a high prevalence of HIV increase skin cancer risk in South Africa (SA).

Objective. To describe the nature and extent of skin cancers presenting in the public and private health sectors of the Northern Cape Province of SA.

Methods. A retrospective analysis of histologically confirmed new primary cutaneous malignancies from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2012 was conducted using public and private health sector databases. Types, quantity and distribution of common invasive malignancies by population group, age, gender, anatomical site and health sector were explored. One-year cumulative incidence was calculated and logistic regression models were used to analyse incidence and melanoma thickness trends.

Results. A total of 4 270 biopsies (13 cutaneous malignancies) were identified. The commonest was squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), followed by basal cell carcinoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) and basosquamous carcinoma, in descending order. The odds of a white male developing SCC increased by 8% each year (odds ratio (OR) 1.08, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01 - 1.15; p=0.022), while the odds of a black male developing SCC and KS decreased by 9% (OR 0.91, 95% CI 0.84 - 0.99; p=0.033) and 18% (OR 0.82, 95% CI 0.70 - 0.97; p=0.022), respectively, each year. SCC and CMM were diagnosed at more advanced stages in the public than in the private healthcare sector. CMM is being detected earlier, as indicated by low-stage depth increasing by 72% annually (OR 1.72, 95% CI 1.04 - 3.01; p=0.042).

Conclusions. Results suggest that reported skin cancer patterns are changing. There is a need for further research and equitable appropriation of financial resources and effort towards developing primary skin cancer prevention initiatives in SA.


Authors' affiliations

K York, Department of Dermatology, Groote Schuur Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

N C Dlova, Department of Dermatology, School of Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

C Y Wright, Environment and Health Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council and Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

N P Khumalo, Department of Dermatology, Groote Schuur Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

P E Kellett, National Cancer Registry, National Health Laboratory Service, Johannesburg, South Africa

R Kassanjee, Department of Statistical Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Cape Town, South Africa

A Mosam, Department of Dermatology, School of Clinical Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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Keywords

Cutaneous malignancy; Northern Cape; Skin cancer; Retrospective; Histology; South Africa

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2017;107(1):83-88. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2017.v107i1.10924

Article History

Date submitted: 2016-12-21
Date published: 2016-12-21

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