A new study by US researchers published in this week's PLOS Medicine finds white people who have types of skin cancer other than melanoma (non-melanoma skin cancer) may be at increased risk of having other forms of cancer in the future.
The analysis, led by Dr. Jiali Han, an Associate Professor from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School in the US, found that men and women with a history of non-melanoma skin cancers—the most common form of cancer in the United States and includes basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma—had a 15% and 26% increased risk, respectively, of developing another form of cancer compared with those who had no such history.
The researchers (also the authors of the published paper), reached these conclusions by analysing information from two large US cohorts (group) studies followed till 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 say: "This prospective study found a modestly increased risk of subsequent malignancies among individuals with a history of non-melanoma skin cancer, specifically breast and lung cancer in women and melanoma in both men and women."
They continue: "Because our study was observational, these results should be interpreted cautiously and are insufficient evidence to alter current clinical recommendations."
The authors add: "Nevertheless, these data support a need for continued investigation of the potential mechanisms underlying this relationship."