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Skin cancer trends in northern Jordan


Muhammad R. Khammash, MD Jordan University of Science and Technology PO Box 3030 Irbid Jordan E-mail:


Background  The Jordan Cancer Registry was established in 1996, since which time all cases of cancer have been reported and registered. We have used this registry to perform the first analysis of skin cancer in northern Jordan and to compare our findings with those of published reports from other regions.

Methods  All histopathologically proven cases of skin cancer, reported during the years 1997 through 2001, were reviewed. Information regarding tumor type, age, gender, and anatomical location was collected.

Results  A total of 272 cases of malignant skin tumors were diagnosed between the years 1997 and 2001. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) was the commonest type, representing 52.9% of all skin cancers. Females were more frequently affected than males, with age-adjusted incidence rates of 23.3 and 19.7 per 100,000 of population, respectively. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) comprised 26.4% of the total, its age-adjusted incidence rate per 100,000 of population being 14.2 for males and 6.18 for females. the incidence rate increased in males and decreased in females during the study period. The incidence of both BCC and SCC increased with age. The head and neck region was the commonest site affected by both types of cancer. Malignant melanoma (MM) comprised 11.39% of all skin cancer cases, with a female to male ratio of 1.2 : 1. The median age at onset for female patients was 49 years while that for males was 70 years, and the commonest site affected was the lower limbs, followed by the trunk.

Conclusions  In Jordan, sun-related skin cancers have relatively low incidences and a rather stable pattern, compared with other areas with similar climate and skin phenotypes.