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Family History of Melanoma Can Double Your Risk

· Skin Cancer · Comments Off on Family History of Melanoma Can Double Your Risk

Mother and daughter

The medical history of your close family members is important to share with your doctors.  Even skin cancer can be genetic.  This genetic link combines with shared environmental and familial lifestyle factors that can also lead to skin cancer.

By examining a family cancer registry of over 20,000 patients with melanoma, researchers found children and siblings of these patients had a higher incidence of melanoma.

Another study of nearly 240,000 first-degree relatives of 23,000 melanoma patients found those relatives had double the risk of getting melanoma than the general population.  A first-degree relative is a parent, sibling or offspring.  This means you share approximately 50% of your genes with that relative.

When gathering your family’s medical history, be sure to note the age at which your first-degree relative was diagnosed with skin cancer.  And, it’s extremely helpful to let your dermatologist know exactly what type of skin cancer your relative was diagnosed with.  Your family medical history should be a living document that’s updated at least yearly.  Think of it as a great way to keep in touch with those you love.

The Melanoma Risk Assessment Tool guides you through a list of questions about your skin, age and geographic location and then calculates your estimated risk of developing invasive melanoma.

Source of statistics cited above:  National Cancer Institute

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