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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Risk factors for basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma among patients from a Canadian dermatology clinic Lee, Jenny


Background: Targeted screening of high-risk individuals is recommended over population screening to identify and manage skin cancer patients. Previous published skin cancer risk prediction models have been developed from a general population with the purpose of identifying those at high risk from the general public. A model developed for use in clinics can potentially aid physicians in their care for patients. Before this model can be developed, risk factors for skin cancer in a clinical setting should be investigated. Objectives: The overall aim was to investigate the different risk factors for skin cancer and their associations with basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma in a Canadian clinical population. Methods: For this case-control study, 1003 patients were surveyed from the Skin Care Centre in Vancouver between January 2020 and December 2021. Demographics, personal history, phenotypic characteristics, and ultraviolet exposure measures were collected through an interviewer-administered survey. Odds ratios were estimated from univariate regressions to assess the relationships between different variables and the different skin cancer types (melanoma, BCC, SCC). Results: Our study population of 1003 included 105 melanoma, 367 BCC, and 148 SCC cases. There were 13 significant variables for melanoma, 17 for BCC, and 15 for SCC. Apart from age, presence of many lentigines was the strongest risk factor for melanoma (odds ratio [OR] 9.44, 95% confidence interval [CI] 4.25-24.0) and BCC (OR 22.8, CI 10.7-56.7). Apart from age, light eyes (OR 24.5, CI 6.15-164 for green, OR 12.6, CI 3.72-78.4 for blue) showed strongest effects for SCC risk. Conclusion: We found significant associations between many proposed risk factors and the 3 types of skin cancer. Age, gender, phenotypic characteristics, and history of sunburns were important risk factors for all skin cancer types. At the same time, some of our findings did not support the relationships found in literature, possibly due to our study being based on a clinical population. Future research involving multivariate analyses should be conducted to provide further insight into the associations between risk factors and skin cancer in a Canadian clinical population.

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