Analysis of the surgical management of skin cancer in the nonagenarian population: Twenty-five year data analysis from a single centre

Skin Cancer

JPRAS Open. 2020 Sep 8;26:28-36. doi: 10.1016/j.jpra.2020.08.002. eCollection 2020 Dec.


BACKGROUND: There were 142,101 new cases of non-melanomatous skin cancers reported by the UK National Cancer Statistics in 2015. The UK statistics published that the incidence is highest in the 90+ population and that this represented an overall 61% increase in skin cancer incidence in the UK in the last decade. This article aims to first provide an understanding of the change in service requirement over the last 25 years for skin cancer management in nonagenarians, and second, understand the subtypes of skin cancer and possible differences in the management for this cohort.

METHODS: All skin cancer biopsies received by a UK university teaching hospital dermato-histopathology department were analysed over a five-year period spanning 2013-2017. This was compared with snap shot data at five-year intervals dating back to 1993. The patient demographics including age, sex and anatomical region were seen along with the types of skin cancers and histological subtypes.

RESULTS: A total of 1050 skin cancers were managed with surgical input between January 2013 and December 2017 in 733 patients. The number of biopsies/year has increased 7-fold from 1993 (33) to 2017 (231). The annual cost of the surgical element to this service has dramatically increased, and in 2017, it was £220k compared to £33k in 1993.

CONCLUSION: Partly because of the ageing UK population, there has been a dramatic increase in the demand on the surgical service regarding managing skin cancers in those over the age of 90. There is a higher rate of incomplete excision in this population than that reported in the national British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) guidelines. Despite higher incomplete excision rates, there is a low re-operation rate in this population probably due to patient comorbidities affecting

reconstructive options, patient preference and clinical decisions on surgical morbidity versus benefit.