Frequent Skin Cancers May Signal Risk of Other Cancers, Too

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 9, 2018 (HealthDay News) — People who have frequent recurrences of a common skin cancer may be at increased risk of a range of other cancers, a new study suggests.

Researchers found the heightened risk among patients who’d had many bouts of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) — a highly treatable form of skin cancer diagnosed in over 3 million Americans each year.

Patients who’d developed at least six BCCs over 10 years showed higher-than-average risks of breast, colon, prostate and blood cancers.

It’s well known that people who develop any form of skin cancer face an increased risk of other skin cancers — including the most serious form, melanoma.

“This study shows that when people have frequent basal cell carcinomas, they also have an increased risk of internal cancers — which hasn’t been seen before,” said lead researcher Dr. Kavita Sarin.

Basal cell carcinoma, which is caused mainly by ultraviolet (UV) exposure, is highly curable. And the vast majority of people do not develop it at the frequency linked to internal cancers, according to Sarin, an assistant professor of dermatology at Stanford University.

She said her team’s findings suggest that when people do have such frequent recurrences, it may signal an underlying susceptibility to cancer more generally.

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