Author(s): Opara KO, Jiburum BC
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Albinism is a genetic disorder characterized by lack of skin pigmentation. It has a worldwide distribution but is commoner in areas close to the equator like Nigeria. Skin cancers are a major risk associated with albinism and are thought to be a major cause of death in African albinos. Challenges faced in the care of these patients need to be highlighted in order to develop a holistic management approach with a significant public health impact. The aim of the study was to determine the pattern of skin cancers seen in Albinos, and to highlight problems encountered in their management. METHOD: Case records of albinos managed in Imo state University teaching Hospital from June 2007 to May 2009 were reviewed. The data obtained was analyzed using descriptive statistics. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: In the period under review, albinos accounted for 67\% of patients managed for primary skin cancers. There were twenty patients with thirty eight (38) lesions. Sixty one percent of the patients were below 40 years. Average duration of symptoms at presentation was 26 months. The commonest reason for late presentation was the lack of funds. Squamous cell carcinoma was the commonest histologic variant. Most patients were unable to complete treatment due to lack of funds. CONCLUSION: Albinism appears to be the most important risk factor in the development of skin cancers in our environment. Late presentation and poor rate of completion of treatment due to poverty are major challenges.
This article was published in World J Surg Oncol
and referenced in Journal of Health Education Research & Development