Studies shows skin cancer can be inherited

October 15, 2009

New York - Several studies published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology suggest that skin cancers run in families, Reuters reports.

New York

- Several studies published in the

Journal of Investigative Dermatology

suggest that skin cancers run in families, Reuters reports.

One study looked at 125 twin pairs with melanoma, and found that in four of the 27 identical twin pairs, both had melanoma, while only three of the 98 fraternal twin pairs both had melanoma, according to the researchers.

Those numbers suggest that having a twin with melanoma increases a person’s chances of getting the disease nearly 10-fold, while having a non-identical twin with melanoma roughly doubled the chances, Reuters reports.

Researchers estimate that genes account for approximately half of the differences in risk between two people.

The second study looked at a database of patients to gauge risk for several skin cancers among siblings and children of people diagnosed with one of those types, according to Reuters.

Researchers found that people with a sibling or parent diagnosed with skin cancer were more likely to develop it also, but not necessarily the same type as their relative.