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July 1988

The Relationship of Basal Cell Carcinomas and Squamous Cell Carcinomas to Solar Keratoses

Author Affiliations

From the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria, Carlton South (Dr Marks and Mr Rennie), and the Monash University Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia (Dr Selwood).

Arch Dermatol. 1988;124(7):1039-1042. doi:10.1001/archderm.1988.01670070027013

• Six thousand four hundred sixteen people aged 40 years and over from three different locations in Victoria (Australia) were examined on the hands, forearms, head, and neck for the presence of solar keratoses and basal (BCCs) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). Analysis of the relationship between these tumors revealed that the factors which predicted the likelihood of developing a solar keratosis were essentially the same as those that predicted the likelihood of developing a BCC and/or an SCC. These were age, sex, years of residence in Australia, indoor or outdoor occupation, tanning ability, propensity to sunburn, and location of residence. The presence of a coexisting solar keratosis was necessary for the development of an SCC in contrast to the development of a BCC. The findings suggest that unlike BCCs, the majority of SCCs in light-exposed areas may arise from preexisting solar keratoses. Whereas the prevalence of BCCs and SCCs was relatively constant in the three locations, the prevalence of solar keratoses differed markedly in direct relation to the degree of insolation. This suggests that solar keratoses are a more sensitive indicator of sunlight exposure than invasive carcinoma.

(Arch Dermatol 1988;124:1039-1042)

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