Having non-melanoma skin cancer may increase your risk of other cancers later on, a new study suggests.
Harvard researchers found that men who had been diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer have a 15 percent higher risk of developing another kind of cancer, compared with men who've never had skin cancer. For women, the risk of developing another kind of cancer was 26 percent higher.
These findings are important considering the fact that skin cancer will be experienced by one in five people in the U.S. during their lifetimes, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. In fact, treatments for non-melanoma skin cancer went up by 77 percent from 1992 to 2006.
According to the Mayo Clinic, most skin cancer types are not melanoma (which is a potentially deadly form of skin cancer that starts in the melanocyte cells). The most common non-melanoma skin cancers include basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer type, affecting 2.8 million people in the U.S.
The new study, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, included health data from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and the Nurses' Health Study. Researchers examined 36,102 non-melanoma skin cancer cases, as well as 29,447 cases of other kinds of cancers.
Scientists investigated and found that the risk of breast and lung cancers in particular was higher for women who had non-melanoma skin cancer before, and the risk of melanoma was higher for men and women who had non-melanoma skin cancer before.
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