Having a close relative with melanoma could raise your risk of it by 74 per cent

Mail Online | 7/16/1969 | Sam Blanchard Senior Health Reporter For Mailonline
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People whose relatives have had skin cancer may be more likely to get the illness themselves, according to a study.

Researchers suggest the genetic risk of the disease may be higher even if people have better sun-care habits than others in their family.

Risk - Melanoma - Fifth - Cancer - UK

The risk of getting melanoma, the fifth most common cancer in the UK, rises by 74 per cent for people whose immediate relatives have had the illness.

And those with a family history of them may be more likely to get squamous and basal cell carcinomas – two other common skin cancers.

Research - Experts - Indiana - University - Data

Research by experts at Indiana University looked at data from 216,115 people collected over the course of 20 years.

The increased risk they found could have been partly down to people having similar sun exposure to people they are related to.

People - Disease - Skin - Cells - Tumours

But they added people may also be genetically predisposed to the disease if their skin cells are more likely to develop tumours.

The research said cells in people's skin are believed to have 'variable malignant potential' and that genes could influence their likelihood of becoming cancerous.

Genes - People - Lot - Moles - Hair

Genes which give people a lot of moles or light-coloured hair, the study suggested, may be passed down and also carry with them an increased risk of the cancers.

There are likely other genes not involved with the colour of someone's skin which were at play as well, the researchers said.

Research - Influence - Relatives

And past research has suggested the behavioural influence of relatives may be negative, too.

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