People with high blood pressure have a higher risk of malignant melanoma
You cover up on sunny days, slather on the high-factor lotion, wear a hat – but while those are all excellent ways to protect yourself against skin cancer, new research has found that exposure to the sun isn’t the only thing raising your cancer risk. According to the Metabolic Syndrome and Cancer Project research group, blood pressure appears to have an effect on skin cancer risk too.
Researchers from Sweden, Norway, Germany and Austria looked at data from the Me-Can project, which was set up to assess the effect of metabolic syndrome on cancers. More than 500,000 people took part over a period of 12 years. Of those, there were 1728 individuals who had malignant melanomas and 230 were fatal; 1145 had non-malignant melanomas, and 873 were squamous cell carcinomas (this type often develops from a lesion that has been exposed to the sun). The researchers then looked at other details such as body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and calculated a combined metabolic syndrome score so they could assess whether any of these were linked to skin cancers.
The researchers found that high blood pressure levels were significantly associated with a higher risk of malignant melanoma in both men and women; for women, higher blood pressure was associated with fatal malignant melanoma. Although it’s uncertain how blood pressure might have this impact, the researchers theorise that both high blood pressure and skin cancer cause similar effects – increased cell division and reduced oxygen supply, for example – this would mean that hypertension could exacerbate a person’s risk of skin cancer.