Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common skin cancer of the eyelid, showing an increasing incidence in the white population. The authors studied the clinical characteristics and the treatment results of BCC of the eyelid in southwestern Finland during 1977-1997.
The authors reviewed the case records of 191 patients with BCC of the eyelids treated at the Turku University Eye Clinic during 1977-1997. The mean follow-up period after the treatment was 8.6+/-5.2 years.
The 191 patients had altogether 194 BCC tumors of the eyelid with the mean diameter of the tumor being smaller than 10 mm in 77.3% of cases. Of the 194 BCC tumors of the eyelid 16.0% showed recurrence, and the recurrence rate of all surgically treated tumors was 13.7%. In this study 61 patients (31.9%) developed other malignancies than the BCC of the eyelid including 28 patients (14.7 %) with carcinoma in other locations than skin.
Incompletely removed BCCs of the eyelid showed only 18.9% recurrence rate during the follow-up time. On the other hand, BCCs of the eyelid should not be underestimated because of the rather high total recurrence rate. The frequency of 31.9% of other malignancies than BCC of the eyelid is remarkably high and requires special attention from the ophthalmologist taking care of the patient with BCC of the eyelid.