New Skin Cancer Genes Found
Skin cancer cases have been steadily growing over the past few years, none more so than in Australia and New Zealand who have the highest incidence of the melanoma disease in the world. Two recent studies though, have just announced that they have discovered four genes that could well increase the risk of contracting skin cancer. These studies, looking at subjects in both Australia and Leeds, England, could eventually lead to better treatments for the cancer and help shed more light on the development cycle of the melanoma.
It is vital that skin cancer patients receive treatment as early as possible, especially so when they are small. The best front line treatment available is surgery and will usually be by direct excision (although some will require more complex procedures). Melanoma is predominantly a disease of fair-skinned, caucasian people and this new research was conducted only on people of European ancestry.
The study itself, which looked at over 5000 people between them, was looking for variations in very short sections of DNA known as SNPs, which may point to different variations of the genre that the SNP is part of. The aim was “to find SNPs, and hence gene variants, that correlate with having melanoma.”
Using the others data to cross check the SNP’s that were related to melanoma, they found four that turned up as significant in both sets. Previously there had been seven SNP’s discovered that related to melanoma found in other, earlier genetic studies of this nature. These four are a significant addition to that list; particularly given all the previous seven were related to moles and skin pigmentations. These new four however, are related to DNA repair, apoptosis and other cancers, notably breast. One of the genes does remain a mystery but could be to do with drowsiness.
All of this suggests that there are other underlying factors to contracting melanoma away from the more commonly understood dangers of skin pigmentations and mole counts. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that is usually pigmented and often has an irregular edge or contrasting colours within it. It is also likely to be irritable. It is important to see your GP at once about any new and strange looking moles that appear on your skin. If it is a melanoma, it is likely your next appointment could be with a plastic surgeon to remove it as quickly as possible.