Delay in Diagnosis and Treatment of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin

Istituto Dermopatico dell'Immacolata, Rome, Italy.
Acta Dermato-Venereologica (Impact Factor: 3.03). 11/2010; 90(6):595-601. DOI: 10.2340/00015555-0966
Source: PubMed


Advanced squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) of the skin can cause significant tissue destruction and may metastasize. Understanding the determinants of patient delay could help prevent advanced presentation. The purpose of the present study was to examine patient- and healthcare-related factors associated with delay before the detection and treatment of SCC. A sample of 308 patients with SCC treated at a dermatological referral centre in Italy were interviewed. Clinical data were obtained from the medical records. The highest quartile patients reported > 9 months delay between noticing the lesion and the first medical visit (defined as long patient delay). Multivariate analysis showed that SCC arising on pre-existing chronic lesions were associated with long patient delay (odds ratio = 3.17; 95% confidence interval 1.1-9.3). Controlling for confounders, the first physician's advice to remove the lesion immediately was associated with a shorter treatment delay (p < 0.001). In conclusion, our work emphasizes the importance of seeing a doctor about any change in a pre-existing lesion, particularly in light of the fact that SCC on chronic lesions are at greater risk of metastasis and recurrence.

Download full-text


Available from: Alessio Caggiati
  • Source
    • "A telephone survey in recently treated Squamous Cell Carcinoma patients in Italy also found skin cancer knowledge to be low [24]. We found no significant difference in knowledge from diagnosis to 8 weeks post treatment. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in humans and the incidence is increasing worldwide. Our objective was to understanding the needs, experiences and knowledge of individuals with Non Melanoma Skin Cancer (NMSC) from diagnosis up until one year. Patients with NMSC completed questionnaires at diagnosis, treatment, 8 weeks post treatment and 12 months post diagnosis. Body image, psychological morbidity and Quality of Life (QOL) were assessed at each time point, with the exception of QOL that was not assessed at diagnosis. Knowledge of NMSC was assessed at baseline and 8 weeks. A sub-sample of participants was also interviewed to allow a more in-depth exploration of patients' experiences. 76 participants completed the initial questionnaire, of which 15 were interviewed. Patients were anxious about a diagnosis of skin cancer, however they were no more depressed or anxious than the general population. QOL significantly improved from diagnosis to 8 weeks and from diagnosis to one year. Knowledge of NMSC was poor and did not improve after treatment. Hairdressers were highlighted as playing an important role in raising awareness and encouraging individuals to seek medical help. Most participants were aware of the need to check their skin for suspicious lesions but were not sure what to look for. At one year participants had forgotten their experience and were not overly concerned about skin cancer. There is a need to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of NMSC. Information on skin cancer needs to be tailored to the individual both at the start of treatment and during the follow up months, ensuring that participants' needs and expectations are met. Targeting education at individuals in the community who regularly come into contact with skin should help in early identification of NMSC. This is important since skin cancer caught early is easily treatable and delay in presentation leads to larger and more complex lesions which impacts in terms of increased morbidity and increased health care costs.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · BMC Dermatology
  • Source
    • "To prove the effect of preoperative biopsy on recurrence of BCC and SCC, the recurrence rates of BCC or SCC with and without biopsy were compared, respectively, using a logistic regression analysis, controlling for confounding factors including age, sex, and tumor size [2]. Furthermore, to confirm the relationship between the interval from biopsy to operation and postoperative recurrence, a logistic regression analysis was performed among the biopsy groups. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Skin cancer is the most common malignant tumor in humans. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are the two most common types of skin cancers. When skin cancer is clinically suspected, preoperative biopsies are recommended for a definite diagnosis. However, despite a concern over potential increased risk of metastasis associated with mechanical manipulation, there have been few investigations into whether a preoperative biopsy affected the recurrence of BCC and SCC. Primary BCC or SCC patients who underwent standard surgical excision from 1991 to 2010 were reviewed and a retrospective analysis was performed. Ultimately, 45 BCC patients and 54 SCC patients, who did not meet the exclusion criteria, were analyzed. To identify whether a preoperative biopsy affected the recurrence of BCC and SCC, the recurrence rates of each with and without biopsy were compared. Preoperative biopsy had no statistically significant effect on recurrence (BCC, P=0.8680; SCC, P=0.7520). Also, there was no statistical significance between the interval from initial biopsy to first operation and recurrence (BCC, P=0.2329; SCC, P=0.7140). Even though there was no statistical significance, the mean interval from the biopsy to the operation among the BCC patients who underwent preoperative biopsy was 9.2 months in those who had recurrence and 2.0 months in those who had no recurrence. There was no statistically significant relationship between preoperative biopsy and recurrence of BCC and SCC. However, there was a tendency toward recurrence in patients with a longer interval between the biopsy and the corrective operation in BCC.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · Archives of Plastic Surgery
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Large cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is associated with a higher risk of disfigurement, local recurrence, and metastasis; however, little is known about factors associated with tumor size at diagnosis. We sought to evaluate factors associated with SCC size, including diagnostic/treatment delay and patient and tumor characteristics. We studied a stratified sample of 308 patients with SCC recently treated at a dermatologic referral center in Italy. Medical records were reviewed and telephone interviews conducted. Multiple logistic regression was used to examine factors associated with SCC size. With univariate analyses, among both invasive and in situ cases, SCC greater than 2 cm was significantly associated with male gender, tumors arising in chronic lesions, and tumors located on not easily visible sites. Long delay before surgical removal was significantly associated with large SCC size only for invasive SCC (P < .001). Among patients with invasive SCC, when controlling for age and gender, multivariate analysis showed a significantly higher likelihood of SCC greater than 2 cm with a total delay longer than 18 months before surgical removal (odds ratio=4.18; 95% confidence interval 2.45-7.13) and for tumors arising in chronic lesions (odds ratio=6.42; 95% confidence interval 3.13-13.2). The study was cross-sectional and based on a single center. Long total delay in removal significantly increased the likelihood of invasive SCC greater than 2 cm. Our findings highlight the importance of early detection and treatment to prevent large invasive SCCs, which are associated with a higher risk of disfigurement, recurrence, and metastasis. Particular attention should be paid to chronic skin lesions and not easily visible body sites during physician- and patient-performed examinations.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2010 · Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Show more