Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer May Lead To Other Forms Of Cancer
March 10, 2014

Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer May Lead To Other Forms Of Cancer

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

People who contract nonmelanoma skin cancer by the age of 25 face an increased risk of eventually developing melanoma or other types of cancer, researchers from the University of Melbourne and the University of Oxford report in a recent edition of the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

According to HealthDay News reporter Robert Preidt, the study authors analyzed data from over 500,000 individuals with a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer. Those individuals were followed for a period of up to six years, and compared to roughly 8.7 million non-skin cancer patients.

Nonmelanoma skin cancer survivors were found to be 1.36 times more likely to develop other forms of cancer, Preidt said. Younger patients were especially at risk, as those under 25 were 23 times more likely than non-cancer patients to develop other forms of the disease, while those between the ages of 25 and 44 faced a 3.5 times higher risk.

The study also found that people with nonmelanoma skin cancer were especially susceptible to salivary gland cancer and melanoma, the Huffington Post reported on Friday. Their risk of contracting salivary gland cancer was 93 times higher, while their melanoma risk was 94 times higher. They also were found to face an increased risk of bone cancer (53 times higher), blood cancers (26 times higher) and brain cancer (20 times higher).

“Non-malignant skin cancer is considered the most common type of skin cancer, relatively easy to treat if detected early, and rarely spreading to other organs,” UPI said. The wire service added that the researchers hypothesize that developing skin cancers later in life might be the result of exposure to the sun over the years, while those contracting it earlier in life might simply be more susceptible to cancer.

“Early detection of cancers through screening of asymptomatic people works best when screening can be targeted at those at greatest risk,” study author Dr. Rodney Sinclair, a professor of medicine at the University of Melbourne, said in a statement. “Our study identifies people who receive a diagnosis of NMSC [non-melanoma skin cancer] at a young age as being at increased risk for cancer and, therefore, as a group who could benefit from screening for internal malignancy.”

Dr. Sinclair and his colleagues collected data from between 1999 and 2011 and constructed a pair of groups: one of which included 502,490 men and women with a history of non-melanoma skin cancer, and the other which featured 8,787,513 people with no history of the cancer and served as the control group.

Each group was followed for a period of five to six years, after which it turned out that 67,148 people from the first group had developed another cancer, compared with 863,441 members of the second group. Despite the higher risk in younger patients, those between the ages of 45 through 59 faced just a 1.74 times increased change of contracting other forms of cancer, while those over the age of 60 faced just a 1.32 times higher risk.