How are solar keratoses treated by general practitioners in Australia?

Int J Dermatol. 2006 Mar;45(3):272-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2004.02477.x.


Background: This study aimed to obtain clinical and economic information about patterns of treatment of solar keratoses (SKs) by general practitioners in Australia. The study design was a retrospective survey relating to the treatment of patients presenting to their doctor with previously untreated SKs.

Methods: Data were collected between May and June 2000, from a sample of doctors who were asked to randomly select two SK patients from their medical records and complete a self-administered postal questionnaire. Information about treatment types, number of visits, treatment complications, and specialist referrals were directly extracted from the patient records.

Results: A total of 156 patients were recruited to the study (61% male) who had been treated for a total of 251 SKs (average 1.6 lesions/patient). The most common treatment employed was cryotherapy (63%). Excision was also commonly used (18%). Five per cent of patients were treated with a mixture of excision and cryotherapy. Topical agents were not commonly employed. Of those patients who consulted a doctor, 9% were referred to a specialist for diagnosis or treatment, of which 57% were referred to a dermatologist.

Conclusion: The typical number of doctor visits varied from 1.9 to 4.6 with a range of cost per patient of 55.13-249.70 Australian dollars depending on complexity of the case and the need for referral.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Cryotherapy
  • Family Practice / methods*
  • Female
  • Head
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Keratosis / economics
  • Keratosis / etiology
  • Keratosis / therapy*
  • Male
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'* / economics
  • Precancerous Conditions / economics
  • Precancerous Conditions / etiology
  • Precancerous Conditions / therapy*
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms / economics
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Sunlight / adverse effects
  • Upper Extremity