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Hormone therapy and age of menopause associated with basal cell carcinoma risk

, by DCEG Staff

Researchers have suspected that external sources of estrogen, such as menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), increase photosensitivity. The more photosensitive a person is, the lower the dose of ultraviolet radiation needed to redden the skin. Because ultraviolet radiation is strongly related to skin cancer, photosensitivity may also play an important role in the development of the disease. This connection between external sources of estrogen and skin cancer led researchers to study whether oral contraceptives and MHT also increase the risk of basal cell carcinoma.

A recent study within the United States Radiologic Technologists Cohort explores how the risk of basal cell carcinoma is affected not only by external sources of estrogen, but also by reproductive factors, such as age of first period and age at menopause, which affect the levels of estrogen in a woman's body. Elizabeth Khaykin Cahoon, Ph.D., S.M., M.H.S., and colleagues found that later age of natural menopause and having ever used MHT were associated with a higher risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on November 2. Read more in the ASCO Connection Exclusive Coverage article.

Reference: Cahoon EK, Kitahara CM, Ntowe E, et al. Female estrogen-related factors and incidence of basal cell carcinoma in a nationwide US cohort. J Clin Oncol. Published online November 2, 2015.

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