BBC: “Skin cancer: Genetic mutations ‘warn of risk’” (March 2014)

The BBC has reported the findings of a new study which identified a gene mutation linked to one’s family history. The mutation is thought to switch off a gene known as POT1, which protects against damage to chromosomes.

A person’s chances of developing skin cancer are influenced by a number of factors, including skin type and sun exposure, the authors claim however that the new findings will help pave the way to new screening techniques, enabling scientists to identify family members who may be at an increased risk of developing skin cancer.

Prof Tim Bishop, Director of the Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, said the findings ‘increased understanding of why some families had a high incidence of melanoma.’

“Since this gene has previously been identified as a target for the development of new drugs, in the future it may be possible that early detection will facilitate better management of this disease,” he said.

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