HealthDay News — Women diagnosed with melanoma during or just after pregnancy are at greater risk from the cancer than other women, according to a study published online January 20 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Brian Gastman, MD, a plastic surgeon and director of melanoma surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues looked at 462 women diagnosed with melanoma between 1988 and 2012. The women were aged 49 or younger. The researchers followed their health for two years or more.

The team found that women diagnosed with melanoma during pregnancy or within one year of giving birth were five times more likely to die of the cancer. They were also seven times more likely to have their cancer spread, and nine times more likely to have a recurrence of their cancer, compared with other women.

“The rate of metastasis, recurrence, and death in our findings were astounding – as the rates were measurably higher in women who were diagnosed with melanoma while pregnant, or within one year after delivery,” Gastman said in a Cleveland Clinic news release.

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