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Is there a reduced risk of skin cancer in patients with alopecia areata?

Decreased risk of skin cancer in patients with AA

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition. Recent studies have suggested that a closely related autoimmune condition called vitiligo (whereby skin cells lose pigment) may be associated with a decreased risk of skin cancer.

In a new study, researchers from Harvard looked at the the risk of skin cancer in patents with alopecia areata compared to patients who did not have alopecia areata. A incidence of skin cancer in 1414 patients with alopecia areata was compared to the risk of skin cancer in 4242 patients who did not have alopecia areata.

Overall, there were fewer patients with alopecia areata who were diagnosed with basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers compared to patients who did not have alopecia areata. Interestingly, there was a slightly decreased risk of melanoma as well.

CONCLUSION

Patients with alopecia areata appear to have a 37 % reduction in the risk of squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas. 

 

REFERENCE:

Mostaghimi et al. Reduced incidence of skin cancer in patients with alopecia areata: A retrospective cohort study. Cancer Epidemiology 2016


Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299



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