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Increased Risk of Cutaneous Melanoma in Cancer Survivors

Last Updated: December 21, 2011.


Highest risk seen for patients with previous diagnosis of cutaneous melanoma

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Patients with a previous diagnosis of cancer have an elevated risk of developing cutaneous melanoma, according to a study published in the December issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with a previous diagnosis of cancer have an elevated risk of developing cutaneous melanoma (CM), according to a study published in the December issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Geoffrey B. Yang, from the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Cleveland, and colleagues investigated the risk of CM following a previous cancer. A total of 70,819 patients with CM as a first primary cancer, and 6,353 patients with CM following a previous cancer, were compared using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database (1988 to 2007). The survival characteristics of the two groups were examined, and the relative risks (RRs) of developing CM following a previous cancer were calculated.

The investigators found that, for patients who were younger than 45 years when they were first diagnosed with cancer, there was a significantly elevated risk of CM following previous CM, other non-epithelial skin cancers, Kaposi sarcoma, female breast cancer, and lymphoma (RR, 11.89, 2.81, 3.26, 1.38, and 1.79, respectively). The risk of CM was significantly higher for patients aged 45 years or older at first cancer diagnosis, after a previous diagnosis of CM, other non-epithelial skin cancer, ocular melanoma, female breast cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, lymphoma, and leukemia (RR, 8.36, 2.00, 5.34, 1.12, 1.08, 1.40, 1.34, and 1.79, respectively). Age younger than 45 years at melanoma diagnosis, female gender, being married, being white versus black, decreasing Breslow depth, lack of tumor ulceration, no nodal involvement, and the absence of metastases were associated with better survival in both cohorts.

"Our findings revealed an increased risk of CM in cancer survivors compared with the general population," the authors write.

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