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Men with a history of melanoma have higher risk of prostate cancer

New research by the Daffodil Centre has found men with a personal history of two or more melanomas are at least two times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than men who have never been diagnosed with melanoma. 

The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, analysed data from 96,548 Australian men from the Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study. They found a 20-40% increased risk of prostate cancer diagnosis in men with a history of a melanoma diagnosis compared to those without.  

Lead author, Dr Visalini Nair-Shalliker, said the findings add to a growing body of evidence around melanoma as a possible risk factor for prostate cancer. 

“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Australian men, but there are few known risk factors. Previous research has not been able to account for the possibility that men with a prior melanoma might be more vigilant regarding other health issues such as cancers. This study was able to adjust for how regularly men were having prostate cancer tests.” 

“Our findings indicate a strong correlation between history of melanoma and a subsequent prostate cancer diagnosis, even after we over-adjusted for frequency of PSA testing and GP consultations. 

“The findings for men who have had more than one melanoma were particularly strong, with the risk of developing prostate cancer two to three times higher.” 

Associate Professor David Smith, leader of the Daffodil Centre’s Prostate Cancer stream said the study’s findings were also interesting in the broader context of men’s health. 

“Melanoma and prostate cancer are the two most common cancers in Australian men. As part of an overall approach to health, men aged 50 and over who have a history of melanoma should discuss their risk of prostate cancer with the doctor.” 

As we come into summer, it’s also a timely reminder to all men to reduce their risk of melanoma and other skin cancers, Cancer Council NSW recommends using all five forms of sun protection when the UV is three or above: SLIP on a shirt, SLOP on sunscreen, SLAP on a hat, SEEK shade and SLIDE on sunglasses.  

While the evidence around prostate cancer risk factors is growing, there is no conclusive evidence on specific causes. 


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