|Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News|Racial Disparities Seen in U.S. Lung Cancer TreatmentNewer, Pricier Prostate Cancer Radiation No Better Than Old: StudyHIV No Barrier to Getting Liver Transplant, Study FindsXofigo Approved for Prostate CancerTest Approved to Detect Faulty Lung Cancer GeneNew Drug May Help Immune System Fight CancerCancer Patients May Face Higher Bankruptcy OddsFDA Approves New Drug to Fight Advanced Prostate CancerMetformin Won't Aid Breast Cancer Survival in DiabeticsCreative Arts Therapies Up Mental Health for Cancer PatientsExperts Aim to Draw Attention to High Cancer Drug CostsCreative Arts May Help Cancer Patients CopeAgent Orange Tied to Lethal Prostate CancerScientists Discover More Genetic Clues to Testicular CancerSocializing May Ease Pain of Breast CancerGene Discovery May Offer Breakthrough for Rare LeukemiaRed Hair Pigment Might Raise Melanoma Risk: StudySkin Cancer Tx Mostly Surgical, Regardless of Life ExpectancyAATS: MnDCT Beats Chest X-Ray for Detecting Lung CancerProstate Cancer May Be Deadlier for the UninsuredSleep Woes Tied to Prostate Cancer Risk in StudyAUA: Incidence of Testicular Cancer Up Through 2009Study Links Timing of ER Visit to Prostate Cancer Survival OddsTesticular Cancer on Rise in U.S., Especially Among Hispanic MenUrologists' Group Issues Updated Guidelines on PSA TestAt-Home Drug Errors Common for Kids With Cancer, Research ShowsScientists Pinpoint Most Major Genes Behind Deadly Blood CancerImplants May Delay Breast Cancer Detection, Raise Death RiskComprehensive Analysis Supports SERMs for Cutting Breast CancerNovel System Proposed for Accountable Cancer CareWomen Smokers More Likely to Get Colon Cancer Than Men: StudyFor Some Seniors With Skin Cancer, Surgery Not Always Best ChoiceComprehensive Discussion With Docs Ups Cancer ScreeningHistory of Skin Cancer Linked to Secondary CancersIntegrated 2D, 3D Mammogram Improves Cancer DetectionSoaring Prices Keep Leukemia Drugs From Patients, Experts SayRace, Income Tied to Breast Cancer Treatment Delays, Reduced SurvivalObesity Tied to Risk of Prostate Cancer After Negative BiopsyNon-Melanoma Skin Cancers Tied to Risk for Other CancersObesity Linked to Prostate Cancer, Study FindsMammograms Can Measure How Breast Cancer Drug Is Working: StudyScientists Spot Cancer Metabolism ChangesMinorities Less Prone to Think They'll Get Cancer: StudyClinical Trials Helped One Woman's Fight Against CancerARRS: MASS Criteria, LDH Predict Survival in MelanomaScientists Create Breast Cancer Survival PredictorEndocrine Therapy Often Incomplete after Breast CancerEndometriosis Surgery Linked to Lower Ovarian Cancer RiskReview Suggests Breast Cancer Screens Should Be PersonalizedMenopause-Like Woes Hinder Breast Cancer Treatment: StudyLinksBook Reviews
Common Skin Cancer a Chronic Condition, Study Says
by By Barbara Bronson Gray
Updated: Aug 2nd 2012
THURSDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Here's yet another reason to go easy on the tanning this summer: A new study affirms that basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, should be viewed as a chronic disease.
That's because once most people have a single occurrence, they are at risk of getting another.
"Basal cell carcinoma has generally been viewed as something that comes up, is treated and cured," said Dr. Martin Weinstock, a study co-author and professor of dermatology at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University in Providence, R.I. "For someone with an isolated lesion, that's a reasonable way of looking at it. But most people are constantly at risk of this and will be getting more."
The study confirmed what was commonly understood about the disease: a prior history of basal cell carcinoma is the greatest risk for another lesion. But the research found that eczema may also predict a recurrence among those at high risk for the disease. Those with a family history of eczema had a 1.54 times greater risk than those without.
Older age, sun sensitivity, intense sun exposure before age 30, and use of certain blood pressure-lowering medications (angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers) were also associated with increased risk.
Why would eczema, a chronic skin disorder that involves scaly and itchy rashes, be associated with basal cell carcinoma? Weinstock said it's unclear. "There may be some differences in these people's immune systems compared to people without eczema," he said, noting that other investigators need to confirm the findings.
Having other types of skin cancer or actinic keratoses (scaly or crusty growths caused by sun damage) did not appear to raise the chances for basal cell carcinoma.
The study was published online July 19 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology and funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It involved more than 1,100 people, nearly all men, all veterans, with a median age of 72.
On average, each participant had more than three instances of basal cell cancer or squamous cell cancer (another type of skin cancer) before participating in the research. During the study period, 44 percent developed new basal cell cancers, and those with the most basal cell cancers in the five years before the study had the most recurrences.
Study participants with more than five prior basal cell cancers were nearly four times as likely to develop a new one as those with one or no prior skin cancers. And their risk was twice as high as those with three previous skin cancers, the study found.
Now the most common cancer in the United States, basal cell carcinoma begins in the outer layer of the skin, often as a small white or flesh-colored bump that grows slowly and sometimes bleeds. While these cancers rarely spread, they must be removed or treated, usually in a physician's office with local anesthetic.
Weinstock said researchers are eager to find a preventive medication to guard against the recurrence of basal cell carcinoma. Last year a team he led concluded that topical tretinoin did not prevent new basal cell cancers in high-risk patients. Now he is involved in a study looking at whether 5-Fluorouracil, a compound used to treat actinic keratoses, may prevent basal cell cancer when given intravenously.
Dr. Jean Tang, an assistant professor in the department of dermatology at Stanford University School of Medicine who is familiar with the study, said the most important thing for patients to know is that if you have had a basal cell carcinoma, you have a 44 percent chance of getting another.
"This study doesn't change any clinical guidelines or recommendations," she added. Current advice still stands: "Get an annual skin assessment by your dermatologist," she said.
To learn more about skin cancer, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
This article: Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.