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Journal of Skin Cancer
Volume 2015, Article ID 167847, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/167847
Review Article

Oculocutaneous Albinism and Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Skin of the Head and Neck in Sub-Saharan Africa

1Department of Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Pretoria 0204, South Africa
2Department of Periodontology and Oral Medicine, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Pretoria 0204, South Africa
3School of Anatomical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
4School of Oral Health Sciences, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Pretoria 0204, South Africa

Received 17 June 2015; Accepted 30 July 2015

Academic Editor: Iris Zalaudek

Copyright © 2015 P. T. Lekalakala et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Oculocutaneous albinism which is characterised by impaired melanin biosynthesis is the most common inherited pigmentary disorder of the skin and it is common among Blacks in sub-Saharan Africa. All albinos are at great risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma of sun-exposed skin, and Black albinos in sub-Saharan Africa are at about a 1000-fold higher risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma of the skin than the general population. In Black albinos, skin carcinoma tends to run an aggressive course and is likely to recur after treatment, very probably because the aetiology and predisposing factors have not changed. Prevention or reduction of occurrence of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin in Black albinos might be achieved through educating the population to increase awareness of the harmful effects of exposure to sunlight and at the same time making available effective screening programs for early detection of premalignant and malignant skin lesions in schools and communities and for early treatment.