A series of about 2200 children who received X-ray treatment for ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis) during the 1940s and 1950s, and a comparable group of 1400 treated without X ray, have been followed by mail questionnaire for an average of 26 years since treatment to tabulate the incidence of skin cancer. The X-ray treatment consisted of 300-380 R to five overlapping fields on the scalp, to cause complete depilation. This delivered doses of 300-600 rad to various portions of the scalp, with lower doses to the skin of the face and neck. In the irradiated group, 41 persons have had one or more basal cell carcinomas of the scalp or face while only three have been diagnosed in controls. There was a high prevalence of multiple skin cancers in the irradiated group (80 lesions among 41 cases). The minimum latent period for radiation-induced skin cancers was long-about 20 years-and this may be attributable to the young age of the population. The skin cancer risk was particularly pronounced on the face, where there would be more UVR exposure in addition to X-ray exposure. Lightness of complexion proved to be an important factor in the skin cancer risk. In addition, skin cancers were found only among caucasians, even though 25% of the study population were blacks. These findings suggest that UVR exposure levels or sensitivity to such exposure interact with ionizing radiation exposure in defining skin cancer risk.

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