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Evidence grows for Parkinson’s disease-melanoma link

03/23/2010

Patients with Parkinson’s disease have an increased risk of melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer, according to the authors of a new study published in the March 2010 issue of Archives of Neurology. The study enrolled more than 2,000 people with Parkinson’s disease who then underwent both neurological and dermatological examinations. The study participants had a risk of melanoma between two and seven times higher than that of patients in other skin cancer screening programs in the United States.

This study, led by researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, was not designed to explain the link between Parkinson’s and melanoma. However, some researchers have speculated that the drug levopoda could be associated with melanoma risk, while others believe that the two diseases may have a genetic link. More research is needed to uncover the nature of the relationship between Parkinson’s and melanoma.

Given the biological relationship of Lewy body disorders (Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia), all people with Lewy body disorders should have their skin routinely assessed by a physician as part of a comprehensive plan of care.

To read more about the study, click here.