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Skin cancer sufferers at risk of another cancer

Researchers have discovered people suffering from skin cancer could be more than twice as likely to develop another cancer compared with the general population.

Although previous studies have revealed cancer sufferers are more likely to develop another cancer, the focus of this research was just people who had had skin cancer.

Experts, who published their findings in the British Journal of Cancer, analysed data from the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry (NICR) for between 1993 and 2002, of which 20,823 people were treated for nonmelanoma skin cancer and 1,837 people with melanoma.

Findings showed people with nonmelanoma skin cancer were up to 57% more likely to develop another type of cancer compared with the general population.

They were almost twice as likely to go on to develop melanoma and they were more at risk of smoking-related cancers.

For those who had had squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) the risk was higher than those who had basal cell carcinoma (BCC).

And among those with melanoma, the risk of developing another cancer was more than double.

In this research, patients developed another cancer that was unrelated to the first. This is different from when cancer spreads to other parts of the body (metastatic cancer).

Copyright © Press Association 2009

British Journal of Cancer