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Squamous cell carcinoma of the conjunctiva in Ilorin, Nigeria

JFA Owoeye
EAO Afolayan


Ophthalmic surgical specimens sent to the histology department of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Ilorin, Nigeria, between 1989 and 1999 formed the materials for this study. The clinical records of these patients were also retrospectively reviewed for additional clinical information. None of the patients under review was screened for Human Immune-deficiency Virus (HIV). Excisional biopsy was done in some cases while others had enucleation. The aim was to determine the incidence of conjunctival squamous cell carcinoma at UITH over an 11 – year period. Nineteen patients (11males and 8 females) had histological confirmation of conjunctival squamous cell carcinoma out of 21 conjunctival specimens, representing 22.9% of all orbito-ocular tumours reviewed during this period and 40.4% of all malignant orbito – ocular tumours seen within the period. The age range was 20 to 70years with a mean age of 45.9 years. The duration of symptoms before presentation was 1year in most cases (36.8%). There were 15 cases of invasive squamous cell carcinoma and 4 cases of carcinoma in situ. Localized excision of the tumours was done in the patients with carcinoma – in – situ while the rest had enucleation. In conclusion, conjunctival squamous cell carcinoma in our center is associated with late presentation of the patients and subsequently with poor outcome. There is the need to test the patients for HIV seropositivity to ascertain a causal relationship between the two. An adequately equipped hospital would minimize the trouble of referral, a factor in loss of patients to follow – up.

Keywords: squamous cell carcinoma, orbito – ocular tumours

Nigerian Medical Practitioner Vol. 48(3) 2005: 70-72

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