Risk of melanoma with other cancers

Hi All

Happy new year

I found this interesting



Cutaneous Melanoma Risk Higher Among Cancer Survivors
A study published in the December issue of the Archives of Dermatology, one of theJAMA/Archives journals reveals that, cancersurvivors have a higher chance of developing cutaneous melanoma (CM), one of the most aggressive forms of skin cancer. Individuals with previously diagnosed melanoma are at the highest risk.

In the United States, CM is the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer among men and the seventh among women. The number of CM cases is rising, while mortality rates from the disease have not considerably decreased. UV radiation exposure is the greatest risk factor for the development of CM, although this risk is affected by individuals’ genetics and race.

In order to understand the risk of CM in cancer survivors, Geoffrey B. Yang, B.S., a medical student at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, and his team examined data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database from 1988 to 2007. 70,819 individuals diagnosed with CM as a first primary cancer (median age of 54 years at the time of diagnosis) were included in the investigation, as well as 6,353 cancer survivors with CM (median age 70 years at time of melanoma diagnosis).

The researchers discovered that individuals with a previous melanoma diagnosis were at higher risk of developing melanoma – a discovery consistent with other investigations. Among individuals under 45 years at initial cancer diagnosis, 777 developed cutaneous melanoma.

The risk of developing CM was considerably higher among patients with previous CM, other skin cancer, Kaposi sarcomalymphoma and female breast cancer. Individuals aged 45+ at initial cancer diagnosis had a considerably higher risk of developing CM following first CM diagnosis, other skin cancers, female breast cancer, lymphoma, leukemiaocular melanoma, and prostate cancer.

The researchers explain:
“Characteristics associated with better survival in both cohorts included female sex, age younger than 45 years at melanoma diagnosis, being married, being white vs. black, decreasing Breslow depth [how deeply tumor cells have invaded], lack of tumor ulceration, no nodal involvement, and absence of metastases [the spread of cancer from the primary tumor to other locations in the body.”

They conclude:
“Given that cutaneous melanoma is the most common second primary cancer in patients with first CM (a risk that remains elevated for over 15 years), our results suggest the need for continued skin surveillance in melanoma survivors.”

  1. #1 by Hein Vandenbergh on January 5, 2012 - 10:07 pm

    Another interesting but ‘why bother?’ study. Clearly, on the factors they themselves enumerate, previous CM MUST be associated with a higher, permanent, intrinsic risk for further melanoma.

    As to association with other cancers, the larger proportion of those mentioned involve reduced systemic immune efficacy, a well-known association with skin cancers, incl melanoma. As to some of the others (breast, prostate), treatment received may adversely affect immune competence. There’s also the minor matter of the well-known and proven fact of the oncogene.

    Additionally, this study is statistically skewed through ‘investigation bias’: once one has had any type of cancer, one is under lifelong intense scrutiny, whereby a melanoma is more likely to be detected. Conversely, I have had pts with melanoma and aggressive SCCs where my surveillance of THOSE aspects of a person’s risk has led me to diagnose e.g. breast cancer which otherwise almost certainly would have slipped through the net for a bit longer at least. I think the risk there for breast cancer was the normal, background risk for women in that age group. Not sure linked to prior melanoma Dx.

    Take-home Mx: once a melanoma or cancer, there must always be an increased risk for more of the same, as well as a better potential for discovery. How many pts don’t we all have with 2 entirely separate cancers of both breasts?

    Still, good to have one’s nose rubbed into thinking along these lines.

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