Skin cancer may predict future cancers – MNT

Dr. Kavita Sarin, the senior author, explains, “The skin is basically a walking mutagenesis experiment. It’s the best organ to detect genetic problems that could lead to cancers.”

Dr. Sarin and lead study author Hyunje Cho followed 61 people who had been treated at Stanford Health Care for “unusually frequent basal cell carcinomas.” Participants had an average of 11 incidences over 10 years.

The scientists wanted to see whether these people had any mutations in the proteins responsible for DNA damage.

Dr. Sarin continues, “We discovered that people who develop six or more basal cell carcinomas during a 10-year period are about three times more likely than the general population to develop other, unrelated cancers.”

The additional cancers included melanoma and cancer of the blood, breast, prostate, and colon. “We’re hopeful that this finding could be a way to identify people at an increased risk for a life-threatening malignancy before those cancers develop,” says Dr. Sarin.

Building up the evidence

To firm up these findings, the team procured a larger sample: a database of insurance claims. The sample included over 13,000 people who had experienced six or more basal cell carcinomas.

The analysis mirrored their earlier findings; the individuals were more than three times as likely to develop other cancers.

With the increased number of data points, the scientists identified an upward trend: the more basal cell carcinomas that someone had, the more their risk of other cancers increased.

The researchers are continuing their study, adding to their dataset as time goes by. However, they are keen to put things into perspective. Dr. Sarin explains, “About 1 in 3 Caucasians will develop basal cell carcinoma at some point in their lifetime.”

“That doesn’t mean that you have an increased risk of other cancers,” she says. “If, however, you’ve been diagnosed with several basal cell carcinomas within a few years, you may want to speak with your doctor about whether you should undergo increased or more intensive cancer screening.”

Although this research only affects a relatively small subset of patients, it could help catch challenging cancers before they have the time to develop too far.


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3 responses to “Skin cancer may predict future cancers – MNT

  1. We’re all wishing for your recovery and return to good health, Tony!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The very best of luck, Tony.


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