CLL Support Association

Skin carcinomas linked to increased risk of other cancers including blood cancers

Skin carcinomas linked to increased risk of other cancers including blood cancers

Those with CLL have a significantly higher risk of developing skin cancers and we've just had a reminder of the importance of remaining vigilant for these:

New research published today in the American journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention shows that people who get non-melanoma skin cancers – particularly before the age of 25 are also at increased risk of developing other cancers - the associated risk works the other way around too:

Some excerpts from an article by Rodney Sinclair in 'The Conversation', a practicing dermatologist who sees patients with skin cancer on referral from general practitioners. He is the dermatologist spokesperson for Cancer Council Victoria's (Australia) skin cancer campaign and is a member of the scientific research committee for the Australasian College of Dermatologists.

"We’ve known for some time that sunlight suppresses the skin immunity – that’s why some people get a cold sore during a holiday in the sun. This is because UV exposure suppresses the immune system in a number of specific ways: one is to allow herpes virus reactivation (a cold sore).

Another is to suppress tumour surveillance by the immune system. This is the natural protective mechanism the body uses to fight developing skin cancers."

and by analysing data from the All England Record-linked Hospital and Mortality data set collected between 1999 and 2011...

"We found that for those who had Non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC), the relative risk for developing cancers of the bladder, brain, breast, colon, liver, lung, pancreas, prostate, and stomach remained consistently elevated when compared to the control group for the entire period of the study, and the risk for cancers of the brain, colon, and prostate increased with time.

We also identified that those who had NMSC before the age of 25 were 53 times more likely to get bone cancer, 26 times more likely to get blood cancers, 20 times more likely to get brain cancer, and 14 times more likely to get any cancer excluding those of the skin."

Remain vigilant,


7 Replies

Remain vigilant for certain...

This caught my eye the other day from a major skin cancer study in the U.S.

'In patients with CLL and non–basal cell carcinoma skin cancer, mortality is as high from skin cancer as from CLL'

Why... ? We are not paying attention? Perhaps...


Sobering in my view...

More on this from SEER database



Here in the UK we have had this first sign of the sun, its been wonderful.Yes people have been out to the park and beach but the message has gotten through as nearly all applied sun cream especially to children. Yet some sun is actually good for you but moderation in everything.


Yes, without sunlight, we can become vitamin D deficient. I've even seen recommendation that those of us with CLL get our vitamin D from a bottle rather than the sun!


Is too little sun as bad as too much sun ?


Good question, which probably depends on the individual and where they live. In Australia, I think aiming for the too little extreme would be preferable :)


Sun is only one factor in skin cancers... many CLL patients get skin cancers 'where the sun don't shine' and never has... so seeing a dermatologist is the best course of action...


I was just diagnosed with CLL. My grandfather had CLL in the late 1940s but died from melanoma. When he saw something on his foot, his GP thought it was nothing. The doctor gave him some powder to put on the foot but it turned out to be melanoma. So we all should be very proactive.


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