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Individuals who have been diagnosed with squamous cell or basal cell carcinoma have an increased risk of developing subsequent cancers other than skin cancer. These results were recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCS) are two common types of skin cancer in the United States. Fortunately, cure rates with standard therapies for these types of skin cancers are extremely high.

Researchers affiliated with the Give Us a Clue to Cancer and Heart Disease (CLUE) study recently evaluated data to explore the potential relationship between non-melanoma skin cancers and the increased risk of subsequent cancers. The researchers compared 769 patients with a history of non-melanoma skin cancers with 18,405 patients without a history of non-melanoma skin cancers and evaluated the risk of subsequent new cancers in both groups.

  • The risk of a subsequent cancer was increased nearly twofold among individuals who had been diagnosed with prior non-melanoma skin cancers compared with individuals who had not had a non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosis.
  • This increased risk was noted for both squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma.
  • Patients who had been diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer at a younger age had a significantly increased risk of subsequent cancers compared with those who had been diagnosed at a later age.

The researchers concluded that there is a strong association between the diagnosis of non-melanoma skin cancer and the risk of a subsequent new cancer, particularly among younger patients.

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Reference: Chen J, Ruczinski I, Jorgensen T, et al. Nonmelanoma skin cancer and risk for subsequent malignancy. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2008; 100: 1215-1222.

Related News:

Don’t Rely Solely on Sunscreen to Protect Your Skin (05/09/2007)

History of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Increases Risk of Melanoma (12/23/2005)

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