Melanoma survivors are at increased risk of other cancers as well as the return of their skin cancers, according to a new study, leading National Cancer Institute researchers to urge lifelong follow-up of such survivors
The study included data from more than 89,500 patients collected from 1973 to 2006. There were 12,559 subsequent cancers, including 3,094 melanomas.
While not the most common form of skin cancer, melanoma is the most serious and most likely to be fatal. The American Cancer Society estimates that 68,720 Americans were diagnosed in 2009 with melanoma and that 6,850 Americans died from the disease.
Noting that most people with melanoma - more than 92 percent of white women, and nearly 87 percent of white men - survive at least 5 years after diagnosis, Dr. Portia T. Bradford and colleagues wanted to measure the risks of the disease coming back or of survivors developing a second melanoma or another type of cancer.