What about the other 80 percent of patients? Sarin said it’s possible other groups of genes — like tumor-suppressor genes — are involved. She and her colleagues are continuing the study and will be looking at that.
Another question, Sarin said, is whether the same pattern is true of people with frequent recurrences of squamous cell carcinoma — another common, highly curable skin cancer.
For now, she stressed that the higher cancer risk was seen only when people had frequent BCC diagnoses. “This doesn’t apply to you if you’ve had one or two basal cell carcinomas,” she said.