Squamous cell carcinoma in chronic ulcers in leprosy: A review of 38 consecutive cases

J. H. Richardus, Treavor, C. Smith

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The histories of 38 consecutive cases of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) arising in chronic ulcers of leprosy patients treated between 1981 and 1990 at the McKean Rehabilitation Centre, Northern Thailand were analysed retrospectively. The study included 37 individual patients; 29 males and 8 females. The average age was 60, years the average duration of leprosy was 34 years and the average duration of ulcers was 12 years. Most patients (76%) came from leprosy settlements. Patients with borderline-tuberculoid (BT) leprosy were most commonly affected (63%), followed by lepromatous (LL) leprosy (21%) and borderline-lepromatous (BL) leprosy (16%). Four patients (11%,) had histories of SCC on other extremities. Metastatic spread was observed in 2 cases (5%) both instances leading to death. The commonest site of involvement of SCC was the foot but it was seen on the knee in 1 patient and on the hand in 2 others. The incidence rate of SCC in the group at risk (leprosy patients with disability grading 1 and 2) is calculated as being 0.79:1000 per year. SCC was seen in 1.8% of all cases admitted for ulcer care at the Centre. Treatment is by radical amputation. SCC in chronic ulcers in leprosy patients cannot be considered rare and emphasizes the need for an active policy of disability prevention in leprosy programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-388
Number of pages8
JournalLeprosy Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


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