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New malignancies after squamous cell carcinoma and melanomas: a population-based study from Norway

Trude E Robsahm1*, Margaret R Karagas2, Judy R Rees2 and Astri Syse3

Author Affiliations

1 Cancer Registry of Norway, PB 5313 Majorstuen, N-0304 Oslo, Norway

2 Department of Community and Family Medicine, Geisel School of Medicine, Section for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Dartmouth Medical School, HB 7927, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756, USA

3 Statisics Norway, PB 8131 Dep, 0033 Oslo, Norway

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:210  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-210

Published: 19 March 2014



Skin cancer survivors experience an increased risk for subsequent malignancies but the associated risk factors are poorly understood. This study examined the risk of a new primary cancer following an initial skin cancer and assessed risk factors associated with second primary cancers.


All invasive cutaneous malignant melanomas (CMM, N = 28 069) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCC, N = 24 620) diagnosed in Norway during 1955–2008 were included. Rates of new primary cancers in skin cancer survivors were compared to rates of primary malignancies in the general population using standardized incidence ratios (SIR). Discrete-time logistic regression models were applied to individual-level data to estimate cancer risk among those with and without a prior skin cancer, accounting for residential region, education, income, parenthood, marital status and parental cancer status, using a 20% random sample of the entire Norwegian population as reference. Further analyses of the skin cancer cohort were undertaken to determine risk factors related to subsequent cancers.


During follow-up, 9608 new primary cancers occurred after an initial skin cancer. SIR analyses showed 50% and 90% increased risks for any cancer after CMM and SCC, respectively (p < 0.01). The logistic regression model suggested even stronger increase after SCC (130%). The highest risk was seen for subsequent skin cancers, but several non-skin cancers were also diagnosed in excess: oral, lung, colon, breast, prostate, thyroid, leukemia, lymphoma and central nervous system. Factors that were associated with increased risk of subsequent cancers include male sex, older age, lower residential latitude, being married and low education and income. Parental cancer did not increase the risk of a subsequent cancer after SCC, but was a significant predictor among younger CMM survivors.


Our results provide information on shared environmental and genetic risk factors for first and later cancers and may help to identify individuals at high risk for subsequent cancers, which will be important as skin cancer incidence continues to rise.

Malignant Melanoma; Squamous Cell Carcinoma; Second cancer; Population-based; Sociodemographic factors; Family