Non-melanoma skin cancer

A positive association between a history of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) and risk of subsequent cancer at other sites has been suggested

This prospective study from the US involved more than 153,000 self-identified white men and women, previously involved in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) and the Nurses' Health Study (NHS), to examine the risk of primary cancer according to a personal history of NMSC.

A total of 46,237 men from the HPFS and 107,339 women from the NHS were studied over 12-14 years, from which 29,447 incident cancer cases other than NMSC were documented.

A personal history of NMSC was significantly associated with a higher relative risk of other primary cancers excluding melanoma in men (11% increase) and in women (20% increase).

Age-standardised absolute risk was 176 in men and 182 in women per 100,000 person-years. For men, a personal history of NMSC was significantly associated with a 99% increased risk of melanoma. In women, a personal history of NMSC was significantly associated with an increased relative risk of breast (19%), lung (32%) and melanoma (158%).

The resulting data suggest a moderately increased risk of subsequent malignancies among white individuals with a history of NMSC. The size and nature of this research indicate that the findings should be interpreted cautiously, but support the need for continued study.

Song F, Qureshi AA, Giovannucci EL et al. PLoS Med 2013 Apr; 10(4): e1001433. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001433

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