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Eur J Cancer. 2006 Mar;42(5):656-9. Epub 2006 Jan 26.

Skin cancer in survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer.

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  • 1Unité d'épidémiologie du cancer, Institut universitaire de médecine sociale et préventive, Bugnon 17, 1005 Lausanne, Switzerland.


The incidence of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) has been related to ionizing radiation, particularly for exposure occurring at young age. In this study, we considered the incidence of second skin neoplasms in long-term survivors from childhood cancer. We considered second primary cancers occurring among 776 subjects (436 males, 340 females) with first primary cancer diagnosed before age 20 years, between 1974 and 2001, in the Swiss Cantons of Vaud and Neuchâtel (786,000 inhabitants). Five BCC were observed versus 0.43 expected (standardized incidence ratio: 11.6, 95% confidence interval: 3.7-27.1). No case of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, nor of malignant melanoma was observed. The estimated radiation doses at 1mm through the skin ranged between 7 and 27 Sv. These data confirm that BCC are strongly related to ionizing radiation exposure in childhood. All the BCC were located within the radiation field, thus indicating that ionizing radiation is the key aetiological factor, even in the absence of any meaningful interaction with UV.

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