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Women - More Likely to Die of Genital Nonmelanoma

Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a group of viruses commonly linked to the sexually transmitted disease known as genital HPV infection, has long been associated with the// development of certain types of cancers – specifically cervical cancer. However, in some cases, HPV can lead to a type of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma.

While squamous cell carcinoma has a 95 percent five-year cure rate when detected and treated early, genital skin cancers can be difficult to diagnose since they are not always readily visible and may not exhibit any noticeable symptoms. As studies show, this can lead to a fatal outcome.

Speaking today at the 65th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, dermatologist Martin A. Weinstock, MD, PhD, FAAD, professor of dermatology and community health at Brown University in Providence, RI, and chief dermatologist at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Providence, presented key findings from a population-based study of nonmelanoma skin cancer mortality in the United States from 1969 to 2000. The data shows a large number of fatal nonmelanoma skin cancers that occurred in the genitalia of men and women age 65 and older, which may have been caused by HPV.

Skin cancers are divided into one of two classes – nonmelanoma and melanoma. Nonmelanoma skin cancers (NMSCs) are the most common forms of skin cancer, which include basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. While basal cell carcinomas rarely spread to other parts of the body, squamous cell carcinomas can spread to other organs if not treated early. Melanoma can rapidly spread to the lymph system and internal organs, making it the most serious and deadly form of skin cancer.

Dr. Weinstock and his colleague Kevan G. Lewis, MD, a resident in the department of dermatology at Brown University, reviewed records from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mortality database. They
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