BACKGROUND: There has been no previously published study on skin cancers on the scalp of women. OBJECTIVES: To better elucidate the characteristics of skin cancers that develop on the female scalp. METHODS: A retrospective review of 13,885 biopsy-proven skin cancers treated by Mohs micrographic surgery was performed. We identified 197 tumors on the scalp of women. Demographic features and tumor characteristics were compiled and analyzed. RESULTS: The average age of women with scalp tumors was 61.8 +/- 16.9, which was significantly lower than that of men with scalp tumors. The age followed a bimodal distribution with peaks in the fifth and eighth decades. Overall, 77% of female scalp tumors were basal cell carcinomas (BCCs), 17% were squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), and 6% were a variety of other tumors. This contrasts with men in whom 53% of tumors were squamous cell carcinomas. Basal cell carcinomas were significantly more common in women under age 50. CONCLUSION: Skin cancers of the female scalp tend to be basal cell carcinomas, many of which occur at a relatively young age as compared to other skin cancers. The exact role of ultraviolet radiation in the development of some of these tumors is unclear.
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