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Jun 06, 2014 11:23 AM EDT

Viagra May Increase Skin Cancer Risk

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A drug used to treat erectile dysfunction in men may be linked to the development of skin cancer, according to a recent study CBS News reported.

Researchers found that men taking Viagra may have an increased risk of developing skin cancers such as melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. The little blue pill may increase a man's risk for melanoma by as much as 84 percent, CBS News reported.

For the study, researchers collected and analyzed data from nearly 26,000 men who disclosed during a Harvard study in 2000 that they used sildenafil citrate, or Viagra, for erectile dysfunction.

In 2000, researchers also interviewed the men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study at the Harvard School of Public Health about their history of sun exposure and genetic skin cancer risk, including hair and eye color and history of moles.

Based on self-reported questionnaires over the next 10 years, researchers tracked occurrences of melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma.

They identified 142 incidences of melanoma, 580 of squamous cell carcinoma and 3,030 of basal cell carcinoma.

Based on their findings, men who used Viagra were at nearly twice the risk for developing melanoma. However, there did not appear to be any link between the drug and risk for other types of skin cancers.

Although the findings reveal that Viagra may be associated with an increased risk of developing melanoma, researchers caution that the study is a preliminary findings and will require more research.

"This study does not show that Viagra causes skin cancer," Daniel Pendick of Harvard Men's Health Watch, told Newsmax.

Researchers said they found no evidence that erectile dysfunction itself increased melanoma risk.

The findings were recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine

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