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Basal cell carcinoma: are early appointments justifiable?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Clifford Lawrence


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In the U.K., patients with suspected skin tumours are usually referred from a general practitioner to a hospital-based dermatologist for treatment, The urgency of such referrals is currently a topic of political importance. We have studied case record data from 162 patients with basal cell carcinoma (BCC) to establish the relevance of referrals routinely being considered urgent, At presentation, mean tumour size (maximum dimension) was 7.4 mm (median 10) and mean duration of BCC was 20.5 months (median 12), There was no correlation (all P > 0.05) between tumour size and patient age (r = 0.1325), tumour size and duration (r = 0.4433), or tumour size and interval between referral and hospital consultation (r = 0.0695). If the slow growth rate of the average BCC is assumed to be linear, a reduction in referral interval from the mean value of 10.7 weeks in our patients down to the U.K. government target of 2 weeks would equate to a size difference in BCC of 0.7 mm, which is not therapeutically significant, Individual BCCs with rapid growth or other features of concern may require urgent referral, but evidence from our patients and from other studies is that this is not routinely necessary.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gordon PM, Cox NH, Paterson WD, Lawrence CM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Dermatology

Year: 2000

Volume: 142

Issue: 3

Pages: 446-448

ISSN (print): 0007-0963

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2133

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.2000.03354.x/pdf

PubMed id: 10735948


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