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Although rare, some pediatric cancer treatments can cause another cancer to develop later in life. For childhood cancer survivors, skin cancer is the most common of these second cancers.
It is important that childhood cancer survivors have regular skin exams and take steps to prevent skin cancer.
If skin cancer is diagnosed early, it is usually very treatable.
The skin protects against heat, sunlight, injury, and infection. Skin also helps control body temperature and stores water, fat, and vitamin D.
Skin has several layers. The outer layer is the epidermis. It is composed of 3 kinds of cells:
People who have received:
There are 3 major forms of skin cancer:
Skin cancer is generally divided into 2 main types:
Non-melanoma skin cancers are the most common form of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of non-melanoma skin cancer, both in childhood cancer survivors and in the general population.
Although highly curable, surgical treatments for these skin cancers can cause scarring.
Treatment can be costly especially in patients who have multiple skin cancers.
Melanoma is rarer than non-melanoma skin cancer. It is typically more aggressive and can spread to other parts of the body.
Protecting skin from the sun is the best way to prevent skin cancer. It is especially important for childhood cancer survivors.
For more information, visit the Children’s Oncology Group’s Skin Health After Cancer Treatment Health Link.
Reviewed: May 2020