(HealthDay News) – Smoking increases the risk of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma but is not associated with an increased risk of basal cell carcinoma or non-melanoma skin cancer, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published online June 18 in the Archives of Dermatology.

To investigate the effect of smoking on the risk on non-melanoma skin cancer, Jo Leonardi-Bee, PhD, of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, and colleagues performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of relevant comparative epidemiologic studies.

The researchers included 25 studies in the analyses. Based on 6 studies, there was a significant correlation between smoking and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (odds ratio, 1.52; I² = 64%). Based on data from 14 and 2 studies, respectively, no significant association was found between smoking and basal cell carcinoma or non-melanoma skin cancer.

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“This study highlights the importance for clinicians to actively survey high-risk patients, including current smokers, to identify early skin cancers, since early diagnosis can improve prognosis because early lesions are simpler to treat compared with larger or neglected lesions,” the authors conclude.

Leonardi-Bee is a co-applicant on an unrestricted educational grant from Roche.

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