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Research Letter
Association of VA Surgeons
March 2016

Predicting the Presence of Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers After BiopsyA Method to Reduce Unnecessary Surgical Procedures

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Indiana University, Indianapolis
  • 2Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center, Indianapolis, Indiana
JAMA Surg. 2016;151(3):289-290. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2015.3243

Nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is the most common type of skin cancer in the United States.1 The incidence of NMSC has nearly doubled in the past 20 years, creating a significant financial burden on health care systems.1 The current recommended surgical treatment of NMSC is complete reexcision of the biopsy scar with a several-millimeter margin. Studies24 have shown spontaneous clearance rates of 24% to 72% after biopsy and have tried to identify associated characteristics. Previous data from our institution suggest that the clinical appearance of a scar was associated with no cancer after surgical excision.5 The purpose of this study was to determine whether clearance of NMSC in excisional specimens can be predicted based on the appearance of a lesion after biopsy and on the demographic characteristics of the patient.

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