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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.
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 in the epidermis. It is composed of 3 kinds of cells:
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.
Survivors treated with radiation are at increased risk of developing skin cancer. Other risk factors include:
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., but in the general population it typically happens in older adults. In contrast, skin cancers occur at younger ages in childhood cancer survivors treated with radiation than in the general population.
Reviewed: June 2018