Management of basal cell carcinoma by surveyed dermatologists in Scotland

V Gudi, Anthony Ormerod, G Dawn, C Green, R M MacKie, W S Douglas, G Gupta, Scottish Dermatological Society

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15 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) has produced guidelines for management of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) in the UK. OBJECTIVES: Our primary objectives were to assess the management of BCCs in Scotland and to compare it with BAD guidelines. Our secondary objectives were to audit waiting times and referral patterns. METHODS: In phase I of the audit, dermatologists in 14 centres across Scotland prospectively registered demographic and clinical data of all lesions suspected to be BCCs over a 6-week period between October and December 2000. In phase II, details of management of these lesions were evaluated by case note review. RESULTS: Of the 48 consultant dermatologists contacted, 42 took part in the survey. There were 524 clinically suspected BCCs seen in 470 patients; 164 lesions in 146 patients showed pathology other than BCC and were excluded from analysis, thus leaving 360 lesions available for analysis. There was wide variation in waiting times among Scottish dermatology centres. BCCs were equally distributed between the sexes, and lesions most commonly presented in those aged 71-80 years. A diagnostic biopsy was taken in 22% of lesions, and the rest were treated definitively after a clinical diagnosis of BCC, of which 90% were confirmed on histology. Nodulocystic lesions were the most common type of tumour, comprising 48% of lesions, and most BCCs were located on the head and neck region. Correlation of the histological type of BCC and treatment received showed that nodulocystic and morpheic BCCs were managed as recommended. There were more superficial BCCs treated with surgical excision than expected (22 of 34 lesions). Four of 21 recurrent tumours and 9 of 81 tumours on high-risk areas of the face were managed with curettage and cautery or cryotherapy, rather than surgical excision. Of the 297 excised tumours, 25 (9%) were incompletely excised. All the high-risk tumours and incompletely excised tumours were offered follow-up in the dermatology clinics. CONCLUSIONS: In general, BCCs are managed according to BAD guidelines in Scotland, but waiting times vary considerably.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)648-652
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and Experimental Dermatology
Issue number5
Early online date27 Jun 2006
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006


  • adult
  • aged
  • aged, 80 and over
  • carcinoma, basal cell
  • cohort studies
  • female
  • humans
  • male
  • middle aged
  • physician's practice patterns
  • practice guidelines as topic
  • Scotland
  • skin neoplasms
  • waiting lists


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