BACKGROUND. The incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the United States, continues to increase. It is important that physicians know what treatment modalities will be the most efficacious. OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to compare recurrence rates by treatment modality for primary basal and squamous cell carcinomas in a private dermatological practice. METHODS. Between June 1993 and December 1994, 268 consecutive primary nonmelanomic tumors were treated by surgical excision or electrodesiccation and curettage in our practice. The charts of the 191 patients treated were retrospectively reviewed, and recurrence data were compared by treatment modality. RESULTS. The recurrence rates between the two types of treatment were not found to be significantly different. CONCLUSION. In contrast to other studies reported from academic centers in which surgical excision has been found to have lower recurrence rates than tumors treated with curettage and electrodesiccation, this study found recurrence rates for two treatments to be approximately the same.
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