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Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Risk Increases From Radiation

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“Although exposure to ionizing radiation is a known cause of NMSC, it is not yet clear whether therapeutic radiation causes both major histologic types of NMSC, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).”

The finding of the study linked and excerpted below should not come as a surprise. Radiation that you had for some other cancer long ago increases your risk of Non-Melanoma skin cancer- specifically Basal Cell Carcinoma.

By itself, one occurrence of non-melanoma skin cancer is no-big-deal. According to research, there is a low risk of NMSC causing serious health issues.

An evidence-based, non-toxic therapy to reduce “non-melanoma” from becoming “melanoma” is to include anti-cancer nutrition and supplementation into you daily regimen.  Further, you need to reduce your risk of basal or squamous cell carcinomas from recurring and possibly damaging you skin.

The important issue discussed in this blog post is that there are many evidence-based, non-toxic therapies that reduce the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. And the kicker is that many of these therapies can make you look younger! But that’s another post.

I am a cancer survivor of a blood cancer called multiple myeloma. As part of my many therapies I underwent local radiation to my neck and to my lower back. That was in ’95 and ’96. I didn’t know it at the time but the radiation increased my risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. I had an autologous stem cell transplant as well. This procedure also increased my risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. I had a nevis removed from my face a few years ago.

By my count I have six of the risks mentioned below. Suffice to say that it is my interest to find evidence-based, non-toxic, inexpensive therapies to reduce my risks of more NMSC.


Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer at a Glance-

  • Risks– UV Exposure, HPV, Genetics, Skin Pigment, Immunosuppression, Radiation Therapy, Age, Previous Skin Cancer,
  • Symptoms– Itching, Bleeding, Shape (A,B,C,D,E).
  • Diagnosis– Visual inspection (A,B,C,D,E), Skin Biopsy (Shave, Punch, Incisional/Excisional)
  • Prognosis- Staging-
  • Therapy– Conventional, Non-Conventional, Integrative, Alternative

After working with dozens of cancer patients, survivors and caregivers over the years I decided to become a cancer coach.

To learn more about other evidence-based therapies that can help prevent the development of non-melanoma skin cancer or relapse, please watch the short video below:

 

If you have any questions or comments, scroll down the page, post a question or a comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:


Risk of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers after ionizing radiation therapy. For The Skin Cancer Prevention Study Group.

Background: Human evidence that ionizing radiation is carcinogenic first came from reports of nonmelanoma skin cancers (NMSCs) on the hands of workers using early radiation devices. An increased risk of NMSC has been observed among uranium miners, radiologists, and individuals treated with x rays in childhood for tinea capitis (ringworm of the scalp) or for thymic enlargement; NMSC is one of the cancers most strongly associated with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Although exposure to ionizing radiation is a known cause of NMSC, it is not yet clear whether therapeutic radiation causes both major histologic types of NMSC, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Additionally, the potentially modifying effects, such as latency, age when treated, and type of treatment, are not well understood.

Purpose: We investigated the relative risks of BCC and SCC associated with previous radiation therapy and evaluated these risks in relation to age and time since initial treatment and the medical condition for which radiation therapy was given.

Methods: The study group comprised individual diagnosed with at least one BCC or SCC from January 1980 through February 1986, who were recruited to participate in a skin cancer prevention trial designed to test whether oral beta-carotene supplementation would reduce the risk of new NMSCs…

At enrollment, a study dermatologist assessed skin type (tendency to burn or tan) and extent of actinic skin damage. Participants were followed with an annual dermatologic examination for an average of 4 years…

We examined time to occurrence of first new histopathologically confirmed BCC and SCC during the follow-up period in relation to history of radiation therapy (for reasons other than NMSC) using a proportional hazards model. A multiple end points survival model was used to compare the rate ratios (RRs) for BCC and SCC. We also used a longitudinal method of analysis to compute the RR of total new BCC and SCC tumors per person per study year associated with radiation therapy. Using this method, we additionally assessed the potential modifying effects of age at treatment, latency, and type of therapy. All P values were derived from two-sided statistical tests of significance.

Results: Among the participants we studied, 597 developed a new BCC and 118 developed a new SCC. The time to first new BCC, but not SCC, was associated with prior radiation therapy. The RR of total BCC tumors was slightly higher but it was still unity for SCC .

BCC risk appeared to increase with younger age at exposure and time since initially treated, although these effects were only marginally statistically significant. Also, risk of BCC was more strongly related to treatment for acne (RR = 3.3; 95% CI = 2.1-5.2) than other conditions.

Conclusions and implications: Our data suggest that exposure to therapeutic radiation is associated with BCC but not with SCC.

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