Clinical presentation of head and neck skin
malignancies among albinos and value of basic surgical
Ademola Abayomi Olaitan
Regina Enubi Morgan
Oluseun Abidemi Aluko-Olokun
Chinwe Kenechukwu Umerah
Funmilola Seun Adenaike
Uchechukwu Nneka Shagaya
Tosin Olayemi Babarinde
Received: 28 February 2015 /Accepted: 10 June 2015 /Published online: 3 July 2015
Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015
Background Radiation from sunlight may play a role in the
clinical presentation of head and neck skin cancers in albinos.
This study assesses the clinical presentation of such cancers
and outcome of basic surgical treatment without primary re-
pair of resulting defects.
Methods An analysis of sites from head and neck affected by
cancers using traditional anatomical landmarks was carried
out. The frequency of involvement of each division in malig-
nant skin changes was also documented and compared.
Results The eyes were not involved with any malignancy.
With the head and neck region partitioned by a transverse line
using the lateral canthus of the eye as landmark, the superior
portion was found to be involved in 209 lesions, all (100 %) of
which were successfully treated. The inferior portion had 119
but enjoyed 92.4 % success rate. With the head and neck
region partitioned in the coronal plane using the lateral can-
thus of the eye as landmark, the posterior portion was involved
in 282 lesions, of which 273 (96.8 %) were successfully
treated. The anterior portion was involved in 46 lesions, all
(100 %) of which were successfully treated.
Conclusions Hair appears to protect the skin beneath it from
actinic damage and cancers among albinos. Failed treatment
was recorded only among lesions on the cheek and neck.
Level of evidence: Level IV, risk / prognostic study.
The incidence of head and neck skin cancers is high among
albinos [1, 2]. Their skin lacks the pigment melanin which
confers protection against carcinogenic rays from the environ-
ment. Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight is the major
aetiological factor . Some parts of the head and neck may
be more involved in the resultant malignant changes than
others. The clinical presentation of these malignancies needs
to be documented. Albinism and sunlight affect African coun-
tries more than others . Basic surgery is often the only
modality of treatment available to patients afflicted with head
and neck cancer in these low-income countries. Under such
conditions, it has been suggested that defects resulting from
wide excision of skin cancer lesions should not be repaired
immediately, but be allowed to granulate; skin grafting may be
done only after a negative biopsy result for cancer is obtained
from the granulation tissue .
This study analyzes the clinical presentation of head and
neck skin cancers in albinos and outcome of basic surgical
treatment without primary repair of resulting defects.
* Bayo Aluko-Olokun
Facial Surgery Department, National Hospital, PMB 425 Garki,
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Lagos State
University, Lagos, Nigeria
Opthalmology Department, National Hospital, PMB 425 Garki,
Radiology Department, National Hospital, PMB 425 Garki,
Oncology Department, National Hospital, PMB 425 Garki,
Eur J Plast Surg (2016) 39:23–28