Continued skin surveillance is important for survivors of cutaneous melanoma (CM), indicate the results of a study showing that this is the most common second primary cancer among persons with a first CM (a risk that remains elevated for more than 15 years).

A total of 70,819 patients with CM as a first primary cancer and 6,353 patients with CM following a previous cancer were identified from Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data covering the 1988-2007 period. An analysis revealed that CM developed in 777 persons younger than 45 years at first cancer diagnosis, with significantly higher risks of CM among those with prior CM (relative risk [RR] 11.89), other nonepithelial skin cancer (RR 2.81), Kaposi sarcoma (RR 3.26), lymphoma (RR 1.79), and female breast cancer (RR 1.38).

Among patients 45 years and older at first cancer diagnosis, CM risk was significantly higher following a previous melanoma diagnosis of CM (RR 8.36), other nonepithelial skin cancer (RR 2.00), ocular melanoma (RR 5.34), leukemia (RR 1.79), thyroid cancer (RR 1.40), lymphoma (RR 1.34), female breast cancer (RR 1.12), and prostate cancer (RR 1.08).

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People in both cohorts had a better chance of survival if they were female, younger than 45 years at the time of melanoma diagnosis, married, and white rather than black; and if their tumors had decreasing Breslow depth, lack of ulceration, no nodal involvement, and no metastases (Arch Dermatol. 2011;147[12]:1395-1402).