If You Had Cancer as a Child, You Might Be at a Higher Risk for Skin Cancer

Had Cancer? The Risk of Skin Cancer | Spectrum Dermatology, Scottsdale

If You Had Cancer as a Child, You Might Be at a Higher Risk for Skin Cancer

There are many factors for skin cancer including a high number of moles, a history of sun damage—and … childhood cancer? Spectrum Dermatology works with patients to gauge their risk levels for skin cancer while performing critical annual mole checks. However, there is some new research which suggests that if you had cancer as a child, you may be more likely to develop skin cancer.

The research from the DCOG-LATER study shows that those who survived cancer as a child are up to 30 times more likely to be diagnosed with “skin malignancy” if they live at least five years past going into cancer remission. Skin malignancy is another term for skin cancer, and it can include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

The most common skin cancer linked to childhood cancer is basal cell carcinoma at a rate 30 times more common than the control groups. Childhood cancer survivors were twice as likely as the control group to develop squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma (the deadliest of all cancers).

The study was comprised of 5,843 childhood cancer survivors from Holland, who were monitored from 1963 – 2001. Of this group, 259 were diagnosed with 1,061 cases of basal cell carcinoma, while 20 were diagnosed with 27 melanoma incidents. There were 10 patients who were diagnosed with 11 squamous cell carcinoma cases.

This “secondary skin cancer” requires an increase in information-sharing according to researchers. More studies are needed, but it’s theorized that part of the increased risk factor is the radiation used in 40 percent of the participants’ cancer treatments. According to the lead study author, Dr. Jop C. Teepen, “Radiotherapy treatment for childhood cancer involves exposure to ionizing radiation that is able to cause damage in the DNA of cells.”

Connect with Spectrum Dermatology Today!

Everyone should get skin checks annually, but if you or your child survived a childhood cancer, it’s especially important to stick with this routine. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, so schedule your skin check with Spectrum Dermatology today.