Article: article from journal or magazin.
Descriptive epidemiology of skin cancer in the Swiss Canton of Vaud.
International Journal of Cancer. Journal International du Cancer
Publication types: Journal Article
Incidence registration and survival data for non-melanocytic skin neoplasms and cutaneous melanoma have been abstracted from the population-based system of the Cancer Registry of the Swiss Canton of Vaud, which has been operating in a particularly favourable environment, since the large majority of cutaneous lesions resected in the area are examined by a pathologist. Among the 5,712 cases registered, 66.7% were basal-cell carcinomas, 20.6% squamous-cell cancers, 9.3% cutaneous melanomas and 3.4% other miscellaneous histological types. The distribution by histological type did not differ appreciably in the 2 sexes, but there were marked inter-sex differences as regards anatomical site. In both sexes, head and neck was by far the commonest localization for non-melanomatous neoplasms (69 to 81% of all incident cases), followed by trunk for basal-cell cancers (18% in males, 15% in females) and upper limb for squamous-cell (10% in males, 17% in females). The distribution of skin melanomas differed considerably between the 2 sexes, by far the commonest site being the trunk for males (45% of cases) and lower limbs for females (40%), followed by head and neck (22% in both sexes). Incidence rates for both basal- and squamous-cell cancers increased with age, and rates were higher in males for each localization except the lower limb. In contrast, incidence for melanoma was higher in females, and incidence rates did not increase with age above 55 years for all sites except head and neck. This can be interpreted in terms of cohort effect, since mortality from melanoma has substantially increased in Switzerland across subsequent birth cohorts. Although this study is essentially descriptive, accurate inspection of these data provides some support for the major aetiological hypotheses of skin carcinogenesis, i.e., the observation that the large majority of basal- and squamous-cell cancers arise on the head and neck confirms the importance of long-term ultraviolet exposure; the relative excess of squamous-cell as compared to basal-cell neoplasms on the upper limb may suggest the role of exposure to other (chemical) carcinogens; and the proportional excess of melanomas on the trunk in males and lower limb in females further indicates that intermittent exposure to sunlight is probably the relevant aetiologic factor for melanocytic skin neoplasms.
Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Carcinoma, Basal Cell/epidemiology, Carcinoma, Squamous Cell/epidemiology, Female, Humans, Male, Melanoma/epidemiology, Middle Aged, Sex Factors, Skin Neoplasms/epidemiology, Skin Neoplasms/mortality, Switzerland
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