Worst news for McCain is not from Denver

The news is that even a milder form of McCain's skin cancer puts patients at increased risk, not just for more skin cancers, but for other cancers as well.

John McCain campaigning for PresidentThe worst news for John McCain this week may not come from the Democratic convention in Denver.

It may have just come from South Carolina, specifically the Medical University of South Carolina at Charleston.

(Yes, before you ask, that's the college whose vp-academic affairs was once Stephen Colbert's father.  James Colbert's name is on the school's annual lecture series.)

The news is that even a milder form of McCain's skin cancer puts patients at increased risk, not just for more skin cancers, but for other cancers as well.

Anthony Alberg and colleagues compared histories of 769 patients with non-melanoma skin cancer to 18,405 who did not have the disease, concluding those with skin cancer ran twice the risk of developing other forms of cancer.

The study accounted for a variety of other risk factors, including smoking, obesity, sun exposure and education. The strongest association came with age, that is, those whose skin cancer showed up earliest ran the highest risk.

McCain has been treated for four melanomas since 1993, meaning he was in his late 50s upon his first diagnosis. He also has a history of basel cell carcinoma. While aides insist he has been cancer free since 2002, it can come back anywhere.

Oh, and this is one thing McCain can't blame on his POW years. It's far more likely the result of Arizona sun exposure, as skin cancer rates among young women have skyrocketed.

One bit of good news. A recent story shows McCain has a history of high blood pressure. A new study shows some hypertension drugs can reduce the risk of some skin cancers.

So, fingers crossed, Republicans. Blacks and Asians have the lowest rate of death from skin cancer, by the way. Is Alan Keyes available for Vice President? (That last is meant as a joke.)

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