Could cancer come back in another form? Beating skin cancer could actually raise your risk of other cancers in the future, finds new research in the j...
Beating skin cancer could actually raise your risk of other cancers in the future, finds new research in the journal PLOS Medicine.
Researchers tracked 46,000 men and 100,000 women for 22 years and found that white guys who had non-melanoma skin cancer—including basal-cell carcinoma and squamous-cell carcinoma, the two most common forms of cancer in the U.S.—were 11 percent more likely to eventually develop another malignancy than those who hadn’t. (Women with a history of non-melanoma skin cancer had a 26 percent increased risk.)
Concerned? The researchers say the results should be interpreted cautiously, since the study was observational. Additional studies will help scientists understand the potential links between the diseases, says study author Jiali Han, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. But malfunctions in the body’s natural defense mechanisms—including the immune system and processes that repair minor DNA damage—could contribute to many types of cancer, he says.
Han doesn’t recommend changing anything about cancer screenings or follow-up based on the findings. “People with a history of any type of cancer will usually go visit their doctor more often anyway,” he says.
However, you can take steps to prevent all types of skin cancer, starting now. Check out our award-winning Guide to Skin Cancer for top sun-protection tips, including this one: Always use a lip balm with an SPF of 30 or higher on your lips. The skin on your lips is very thin, making it especially susceptible to sun damage, and your lower lip is one of the most common sites for squamous-cell carcinoma, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
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