Purpose: To describe the epidemiologic characteristics and incidence trends of primary eyelid cancers in the Chinese population in Taiwan between 1979 and 1999. Design: Retrospective population-based cancer registry data review. Participants: A total of 1166 primary eyelid cancers coded to International Classification of Diseases 8 or 9, site 172.1 (malignant melanoma of eyelid) and 173.1 (other malignant neoplasm of eyelid) were retrieved from the Taiwan National Cancer Registry between January 1979 and December 1999. Of these, 1121 (96.1%) were histopathologically verified and were used for analysis. Methods: Age- and gender-specific incidence rates were calculated and were age-adjusted to the 2000 world standard population. Trends in incidence rates were estimated by calculating the annual percentage change. We further examined the effects of age, period of diagnosis, and birth cohort on incidence trends using age-period-cohort analysis. Main Outcome Measure: Age-standardized incidence rate. Results: The mean age at diagnosis of eyelid cancers was 62.6±14.1 years. The average annual age-standardized incidence rate was 3.2 per million during the study period. There was an overall increase of incidence rates from 1.5 per million in 1979 to 5.1 per million in 1999, with an annual percentage change of 4.63% (P<0.001). The most common eyelid malignancy was basal cell carcinoma (BCC; 65.1%), followed by squamous cell carcinoma (12.6%), and sebaceous cell carcinoma (7.9%). The increasing rates were mainly driven by an increase in the incidence of BCC. Cohort effects were found to play a major role in terms of model fit for the incidence trends of BCC. Conclusions: These national data reveal a rapidly increasing incidence of eyelid cancers from 1979 to 1999 in Taiwan. Basal cell carcinoma dominates the incidence trends, and the significant cohort effects give a warning of increasing risk of BCC in younger birth cohorts.
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