Common skin cancer can signal increased risk of other cancers, Stanford researchers say
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People who develop abnormally frequent cases of a skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma appear to be at significantly increased risk for the development of other cancers, including blood, breast, colon and prostate cancers, according to a preliminary study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The increased susceptibility is likely caused by mutations in a panel of proteins responsible for repairing DNA damage, the researchers found.

“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,” said Kavita Sarin, MD, PhD, assistant professor of dermatology. “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.”

Sarin is the senior author of the study, which will be published online Aug. 9 in JCI Insight. Medical student Hyunje Cho is the lead author.

Largest organ

The skin is the largest organ of the body and the most vulnerable to DNA damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Try as one might, it’s just not possible to completely avoid sun exposure, which is

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