A study of sixty patients with basal cell carcinoma of the head and neck region carried out over a six-year period (1979–1985) is hereby presented. Sixteen (26.72 percent) were albinos and 44 (73.28 per cent) negroids. Forty-eight (80 per cent) were outdoor workers. The negroid patients presented between the 3rd and 4th decades while the albinos presented a decade earlier. The commonest site involved in the head and neck was the forehead. The midface showed the highest recurrence rate in both groups, even after adequate excision. The frequency of recurrence in tumours presenting with a size of 2–5 cm. diameter was significantly higher in the albinos than in the negroid (P<0.05), whereas, with tumours of a size larger than 5 cm., there was no statistically significant difference between the albino and the negroid. However, the overall recurrence rate was significantly higher in the albinos (P<0.005). The mortality among the albinos was 25 per cent while there were no deaths in the negroid Africans.
c1 Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Dept. Of Surgery, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, P.M.B. 12003, Lagos, Nigeria.