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Nurse data links skin cancer to later cancer risk

Tuesday April 23, 2013
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White people with non-melanoma skin cancer may face an increased risk of having other forms of cancer in the future, according to data from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

The analysis, led by Jiali Han, PhD, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, part of Harvard Medical School in Boston, found that men and women with a history of basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma had a 15% and 26% higher risk, respectively, of developing another form of cancer compared with those who had no such history.

As reported April 23 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine, researchers analyzed information from two large U.S. studies followed until 2008: the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (which enrolled 51,529 male health professionals in 1986) and the Nurses' Health Study (which enrolled 121,700 female nurses in 1976).

The authors identified 36,102 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer and 29,447 new cases of other cancers in white participants.

When excluding melanoma, the authors found a history of non-melanoma skin cancer was linked to an 11% higher risk of other cancers in men and a 20% higher risk of other cancers in women.

After correction for multiple comparisons, the authors found that a history of non-melanoma skin cancer was significantly linked to an increased risk of breast and lung cancer in women and of melanoma in both men and women.

“Because our study was observational, these results should be interpreted cautiously and are insufficient evidence to alter current clinical recommendations,” the authors wrote. “Nevertheless, these data support a need for continued investigation of the potential mechanisms underlying this relationship.”

Read the study: www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001433.


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