Family history ‘more important’ for skin cancer

2014-03-31 09:34

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Cape Town – Scientists in the UK are one step closer to understanding the predominant risk factors that contribute to skin cancer, the sun may no longer be the main factor.

Researchers are looking more directly at a person’s family history in terms of understanding high rates of skin cancer.

According to the BBC newly identified gene mutation can create certain cases of skin cancer.

Researchers hope that the discovery will lead to a better way of understanding skin cancer, how to treat the disease and how to better screen for early detection.

The main factors that cause skin cancer are sun exposure, family history and skin type according to the report.

In a recent study by the medical journal Lancet, South Africa could potentially see a 78% increase in the number of people being diagnosed with cancer by 2030.

The UK scientists argue that for people with a strong history of skin cancer this is a step in the right direction.

Dr Safia Danovi, a cancer researcher in the UK, suggests that about one in 20 diagnosed with skin cancer have a history of the disease within their family.

Scientists with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute state that people who have mutations in a specific gene are at a higher risk of having melanoma.

What this specifically means is that those present with the mutation have a gene switched off known as POT1. This gene is responsible for protecting packets of DNA against damage.

Dr David Adams argues that this new discovery will lead to better risk management of families with a high incidence of skin cancer.

Gene mutation is seen as a growing risk factor for melanoma.
Read more on:    cancer  |  environment  |  health

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