Background: The relationship between anthropometric indices and risk of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is largely unknown. We aimed to examine the association between anthropometric measures and development of BCC and to demonstrate whether adherence to World Health Organisation guidelines for body mass index, waist circumference, and waist/hip ratio was associated with risk of BCC, independent of sun exposure.
Methods: Study participants were participants in a community-based skin cancer prevention trial in Nambour, a town in southeast Queensland (latitude 26 degrees S). In 1992, height, weight, and waist and hip circumferences were measured for all 1621 participants and weight was remeasured at the end of the trial in 1996. Prevalence proportion ratios were calculated using a log-binomial model to estimate the risk of BCC prior to or prevalent in 1992, while Poisson regression with robust error variances was used to estimate the relative risk of BCC during the follow-up period.
Results: At baseline, 94 participants had a current BCC, and 202 had a history of BCC. During the 5-year follow-up period, 179 participants developed one or more new BCCs. We found no significant association between any of the anthropometric measures or indices and risk of BCC after controlling for potential confounding factors including sun exposure. There was a suggestion that short-term weight gain may increase the risk of developing BCC for women only.
Conclusion: Adherence to World Health Organisation guidelines for body mass index, waist circumference and waist/hip ratio is not significantly associated with occurrence of basal cell carcinomas of the skin.