Risk higher for subsequent primary melanoma; breast, prostate cancer; non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

-- Eric Metcalf

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 (Last Updated: 04/01/2010)

WEDNESDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- Melanoma survivors have a substantially higher risk of developing subsequent melanoma, as well as a higher risk of developing several other types of cancer, according to research published in the March issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Porcia T. Bradford, M.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues analyzed Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results data from 1973 to 2006 on 89,515 patients who survived at least two months after an initial melanoma diagnosis.

The researchers found that the patients' overall risk of a subsequent primary cancer increased by 28 percent. One-quarter of the subsequent cancers were primary melanomas, for an observed-to-expected (O:E) ratio of 8.61. Risks were particularly high in women with head and neck melanoma and people under 30 (O:E ratios, 13.22 and 13.40, respectively). Survivors also had higher risk of other cancers, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (O:E ratios, 1.10, 1.15, and 1.25, respectively).

"Melanoma survivors are at an increased risk long after initial diagnosis for subsequent primary cancers, most likely owing to genetic susceptibility, behavioral risk factors, and increased medical surveillance," the authors conclude. "In addition to melanoma, survivors of melanoma are at increased risk of several other types of cancer. Patients who have been diagnosed with melanoma, therefore, should remain under continued surveillance not only for melanoma recurrence but also for new primary melanomas and other cancers."

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