Skin fears for leukaemia children

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The Independent Online
CHILDREN who recover from leukaemia and other blood cancers may be more at risk of skin cancer in later life and should avoid sunbathing, researchers say, writes Celia Hall.

They have found that after receiving drug therapy, the children developed a large number of moles on their skin of a type that are an established risk factor for malignant melanoma, a potentially fatal skin cancer.

The researchers, led by Professor Rona McKie, of the University of Glasgow, counted up to 34 moles, or naevi, on 22 children before chemotherapy, a mean of four per child, which is normal.

Three years later they counted between 30 and 199 moles, a mean of 76 per child. Some of the naevi had appeared in unusual places, on the palms and soles of hands and feet and between fingers and toes, they say in tomorrow's edition of the British Medical Journal.

The children's moles were not cancerous and the researchers cannot say if they will become so.

Professor McKie says that children and their parents need to be taught to look for the signs of skin cancer and that doctors should give skin examinations when the children are followed up.

Only 2.5 per cent of female prostitutes in Glasgow are HIV positive and all of those women are injecting drug users, another report in the journal says.