Background: Colombia is home to one of the areas with the highest levels of exposure to UV radiation in the world, namely, the Andes Mountains, which stretch along the equator. Recent studies have reported an increase in the incidence of basal cell carcinoma in Colombia, but the risk factors associated with the development of this disease have not been studied.
Objective: To determine the risk factors for basal cell carcinoma in patients from the National Dermatology Center of Colombia.
Material and methods: We performed a case-control study involving 406 individuals, and analyzed sociodemographic, epidemiological, and clinical factors using multiple logistic regression.
Results: The following risk factors were identified: skin phototypes I to III (odds ratio [OR], 15.4), family history of skin cancer (OR, 5.8), past history of actinic keratosis (OR, 3.3), continued residence in a rural area after the age of 30 years (OR, 2.96), practice of outdoor sports (OR, 2.67), history of 10 or more episodes of sunburn (OR, 2.3), actinic conjunctivitis (OR, 2.26), and failure to use a hat in childhood (OR, 2.11).
Conclusions: Different factors specific to Colombia increase the risk of basal cell carcinoma. In particular, the association with phototype III could partly explain the increase in incidence detected in this country. Preventive programs should target the risk groups detected and highlight the importance of basing decisions on local evidence.
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