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Acta Oncol. 1993;32(6):621-2.

Skin cancer in African albinos.

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Department of Surgery, Ahmadu Bello University Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria.


A review of 775 normally pigmented Africans and 18 African albinos with malignant skin tumours showed that squamous cell carcinoma was the most common tumour type, in contrast to Caucasians, in whom basal cell carcinoma is most frequent. In African albinos squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck region was most frequent. However, the proportion of basal cell carcinomas was low also among albinos but higher than among normally pigmented patients. In contrast to the normally pigmented patients, there were no squamous cell carcinomas on the limbs in albino patients. We suggest that this difference was due to environmental factors, such as chronic leg ulcers, which might have been less influential in the albinos, who seldom lived more than 30 years. No cases of cutaneous melanoma or Kaposi sarcoma were found in the albino group.

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