Skin Cancer Causes Other Cancers

skin cancer

Skin cancer has long been considered a silent killer, of sorts. An affected area can start off with very little visual indication, increasing in mass ever so gradually over time. Before a victim realizes how grave a situation they are in, it may be too late. Now, as if that wasn’t enough to worry about on it’s own, new studies are pointing to even more scary facts regarding this widespread type of cancer. It seems those who survive the deadly affliction, even at a young age, may be more likely to suffer again. The statistics are now showing that an initial incidence of skin cancer causes other types of cancers to crop up later in life.

In a sense, because the skin is the largest organ in the body, it stands to reason that it has a huge risk of incurring some type of cancer – particularly due to its often direct contact with the sun’s deadly UV rays, which have long been known to have damaging affects over time. Skin cancer, the most common form of cancer, has two basic categories. First, there is the ultra-dreaded melanoma, which impacts deeper in the skin, and is responsible for the majority of skin cancer deaths. Although, if caught early enough, melanoma can be easily cured, especially in today’s world of modern medicine. Melanoma can be caused by sun exposure, but that is not always the case. For example, genetics are always a factor for any potential type of cancer.

Then, there is the much more common non-melanoma skin cancer. This type of skin cancer affects roughly 3.5 million people in the United States each year, and lies much higher on the surface of the skin. Often times this type of cancer does afflict sun exposed areas such as the face, neck, lips and ears. It is not considered to be as deadly as melanoma and just as easily treatable if caught early enough. However, recent studies that looked at thousands of non-melanoma survivors indicate that this type of skin cancer is potentially likely to cause other cancers down the line.

A recent study, published in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention journal, took in data of over 500,000 patients treated for non-melanoma skin cancer. These subjects were followed over the course of about 5 years to determine any long lasting health affects. The results were compared to the overall health statistics of about 8.7 million people who had never suffered non-melanoma skin cancer. As it turns out, those who had been afflicted with the deadly disease were 1.36 times more likely to develop another form of cancer within the aforementioned timeline of study.

Furthermore, the younger the non-melanoma cancer victim, the higher the rate may be of some type of cancer returning. The study found that there were roughly 30 different cancers likely to show up in non-melanoma cancer survivors. These include: melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, bladder cancer, and cancers of the colon, liver, lungs, brain, stomach, prostate, and pancreas. So, what can one do to decrease risk of non-melanoma cancer and the recurrence of other types of cancer?

Researchers point out that there is always a genetic factor when it comes to cancer, in which case there is almost no control over whether or not someone may develop the disease. However, with these new findings that skin cancer can cause other types of cancers later in life, there are a few things to bear in mind. Of course, limiting sun exposure through use of sunscreen, clothing, or simply staying away from places like the beach are all clichéd, yet helpful hints on prevention of skin cancer. However, if one becomes a survivor of non-melanoma cancer, they should stay healthy through exercise and diet. Not only could a healthy lifestyle stave off illness, if there is a return of cancer down the line it will help any victim to be in good shape while battling the potentially deadly disease.

By Josh Taub

Web MD
American Cancer Society
Mayo Clinic

22 Responses to "Skin Cancer Causes Other Cancers"

  1. Speron   March 28, 2014 at 12:26 am

    Chicago Skin Cancer Surgery provides the best Skin cancer procedure, skin cancer therapy, skin cancer treatment to its patients at very affordable prices. To schedule an appointment with Dr.Speron, contact his office located at Park Ridge, IL 60068 or online at

  2. Tyler Thonon   March 11, 2014 at 5:36 am

    Very useful and helpful information in this post. Skin cancer is one of the most common kind of cancers. It can occur to any person. Studies have shown that skin cancer can cause the other type of cancers. So it is always important to get treatment for skin cancer immediately as it can cause the other type of cancers.

  3. Evan   March 10, 2014 at 8:49 am

    And you just leave it at that?How about nutrition, eh?

    No action recommended? In that case, you get your kicks in fear-mongering!

    How about going to the food Source, and demanding that the food industry clean up their act!?

  4. daniel   March 9, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Wrong use of “it’s”, Josh…when will people get it re: “its” vs “it’s”?

  5. John Watson   March 9, 2014 at 5:32 pm


  6. Vinster   March 9, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Wow, colon cancer AND cancer of the colon, too.
    Sound serious, Josh.

  7. Warren   March 9, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    We men frequently hear of the hazards of prostate cancer but rarely about testicular cancer. Get checked as part of an annual physical. I didn’t and lost a testicle plus radiation therapy twenty years ago at the age of fifty two.

  8. Stephen Young   March 9, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    para 2 should be “damaging effects”. You got “affects” right later.

  9. Ed Gossett   March 9, 2014 at 11:49 am

    I have had over 130 stitches from 8 areas of MOES ( not sure if spelled right..sorry) surgery to remove squamous cells done over the past 3 years. All done on areas from exposed sun on skin ie: hands,wrist upper arm and above the knee. I’m 57 and when in my teens, i did alot of bike riding and these areas all point to those days. I read this article thinking oh boy,now what but after reading the article, i was confused and unclear as to what exactly the writer was trying to say. Too bad I couldn’t get useful info from a potentially informative subject,

  10. wsm   March 9, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Misleading title and disappointing article. Just more sensationalism.

    • SR   March 9, 2014 at 7:50 pm

      Agreed. If you read the actual study, it says that one should not draw conclusions other than that further research is warranted and that no increased cancer surveillance is suggested or required. He had me for a moment..I recently had a biopsy positive for NMSC and am awaiting my scheduled treatment. It is disappointing when research data is misrepresented by the media.

  11. Jim griffin   March 9, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Wow!! Nothing about the fact that the increase in cancers coincide with the increase of nuclear proliferation.

    • John Beckwith   March 9, 2014 at 11:18 am

      This article is about skin cancer, which comes from the sun.

      Not sure what you mean by “nuclear proliferation”…proliferation of what? Nuke bombs? Nuke power plants?

      No body is building nuke bombs much at all, in fact they are reducing their stock.

      Nuke Power plants:

      How is that possible when there has not been a new Nuke plant constructed in the USA since the early 70’s?

      • Apophasis   March 10, 2014 at 8:21 am

        Chernobyl is still killing people, as is the fallout from Cold War nuke testing.
        Three years ago, Fukushima started. It will never stop spewing poison and death into the air and water. The first of the waterborne radiation plume is hitting the west coast of the US now. It will never stop, only continue to accumulate.
        WIPP just spewed plutonium across north Texas And the Midwest. Situation is unclear; may be more to come.
        Get ready for a lot more cancers. My advice is to detox and supplement, as well as avoiding pacific seafood.

  12. Jane   March 9, 2014 at 10:27 am

    All of the previous comments are right on. I can only add that even the perceived increase in risk could be an artifact due to increased medical vigilance on the part of patients who now see themselves as vulnerable. Some of these cancers may have posed little threat to health and escaped diagnosis (and treatment) in insouciant individuals who chose not to have regular screens.

    • John Beckwith   March 9, 2014 at 11:24 am

      Very good point considering :

      “”These subjects were followed over the course of about 5 years to determine any long lasting health affects.””

      5 years for long term affects? The skin cancer patients were definitely tested many times within the 5 year span, a person who never had cancer may not get a single test until their 40’s or 50’s

      I hate flawed studies…I hate agenda driven studies…..

  13. Vicki   March 9, 2014 at 9:22 am

    I expect brighter reporters. Josh obviously knew nothing about skin cancer before he began writing and didn’t bother to educate himself about the differences between types.

  14. Mary   March 9, 2014 at 8:31 am

    In addition to Shane’s correction….In most cases, non-melanoma skin cancer is not a “deadly affliction.” This article needs to be checked for accuracy by an oncologist.

  15. Dennis   March 9, 2014 at 7:09 am

    Shane is right. The commonality is that the same mutations that cause skin cancer can also cause other cancers. Skin cancer does not cause these other cancers.

  16. Shane Egan   March 8, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    You have made a common mistake and confused causation with correlation. Whilst other types of cancer may be more common in those who suffer from skin-cancers it does not follow that one causes the other. Rather, there may be underlying factors which increase the likelihood of both.

    • John Beckwith   March 9, 2014 at 11:25 am

      They do mention that genetics play a significant role is who gets cancer and who doesn’t.

    • Harry   March 9, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      . . . like drnking & smoking, being overweight, poor dietary choices, exposure to modern chemicals, stress and the like that many seem to ignore until it is too late.


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