Young Skin Cancer Survivors at Increased Risk for Other Cancers

Published Online: Wednesday, April 16, 2014
According to the results of a recent study conducted in England, survivors of nonmelanoma skin cancer may be at an increased risk for developing other types of cancer. The risk was particularly strong among young patients.

The study, published in the March 2014 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, attempted to clarify conflicting evidence on the risk for subsequent cancer in patients with a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer. The researchers followed patients with and without a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer from a data set of hospital and mortality records from 1999 to 2011.

The results indicated that skin cancer survivors had a significantly increased risk for developing other cancers. When compared with patients who did not have skin cancer, nonmelanoma skin cancer survivors were 1.36 times more likely to develop any other type of cancer.

The risk was particularly high for salivary gland, melanoma, bone, and upper gastrointestinal tract cancers. The risk was also especially high among younger patients; subsequent cancer risk was 23 times higher for skin cancer survivors younger than 25 years, and 3.5 times higher for those aged 25 to 44 years compared with controls in the same age groups.

“The pattern suggests a genetic or early-acquired etiologic association,” the authors of the study conclude.

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