Before we dwell on the question is skin cancer genetic, let us first understand what is skin cancer.
Skin cancer is basically an extreme type of growth of cells that are in the outermost layer of the skin, known as the epidermis, and is caused by mutation, which tends to promote overgrowth which turns into tumor formation.
The mutation is caused by unrepaired DNA damage in the first place. The causes of skin cancer can be various, so now let’s find out if skin cancer is genetic.
1. The Risk of Melanoma
Any unprotected exposure to Ultraviolet radiation from the sun will directly be a risk factor considered melanoma.
The attack from indoor tanning and ultraviolet light is very extreme on the skin, making it the first factor to count.
Severe sunburns definitely increase the risk. Everything at a younger age has a higher impact though but even the ones developed in later life do have a cumulative effect.
Your immune system is what helps you fight off any diseases or infections, but in some patients, the immune response will not be as strong as in others.
This is because the system might become weak, and this weakened immune system is usually caused by medical treatments like chemotherapy or medical conditions like lymphoma or HIV.
There is no clear distinction as to who is affected by melanoma but it is believed that people with fairer skin which easily freckles and burns, along with those who have red or blond hair and blue or green eyes; are at a higher risk.
2. What Role Does Genetics Play in Skin Cancer?
There is no doubt that the ultraviolet light from sun exposure, tanning beds, and other such reasons look like a causal agent for skin cancer.
But in addition to this, your genes can also be a causal factor and if you have had a family history of skin cancer then for you the answer to the question is skin cancer genetic, which is positive.
Based on the studies done by the Skin Cancer Foundation, it can be clearly observed that almost 10% of the people diagnosed with melanoma are basically a case of familial melanoma implying somebody in their family members had that disease at some point in life and the closer the biological relationship, the higher the risk of melanoma.
Another point to be noted with people who have familial melanoma history is that if you have a lot of unusual moles, then you are at high risk of developing melanoma.
These moles could be asymmetrical, have an irregular or jagged border, or even have changed their size and shape.
When you have a combination of moles and a family history of melanoma it is actually described by the term Familial Atypical Multiple Mole Melanoma syndrome (FAMMM).
FAMMM syndrome increases the risk for any individual by over 17%.
3. How to Prevent Skin Cancer?
Is skin cancer genetic, well you can’t be so sure so it is recommended that you stay on the lookout if you have any hereditary risk factors.
Get self-checkups more frequently done and have periodical visits to a trusted and certified dermatologist, so that in case of any new development it can be quickly diagnosed.
As professional skin exams give a detailed analysis and having an early stage information is among the best ways to cure melanoma.
In case you already know that you have a family history of melanoma, then start with everything all the more early. Children who have such genetic inheritance will need special care, starting straight from puberty.
Usually in known histories, the possibility of recovery is higher because of the preparedness and careful and continuous examination.
Although you need to keep in mind that even if you’re not in a high-risk category, precautions still stand in place. This primarily involves protecting yourself from UV radiation.
Use a sunscreen that has a higher SPF ideally 30 or higher, also make sure that it is broad spectrum so that the sunscreen can protect you from both UVA and UVB rays.
If you’ve indulged in any activity causing you to sweat a lot like exercise or even swimming then reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.
If you really have to step out then use sunscreen as stated above, but if you have a flexible timeline on that then try to not step out between 10 AM and 3 PM, this is the duration when the UV light from the sun is at its highest intensity. When you are stepping out make sure you are clothed appropriately.
Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes which actually cover most of the exposed body to protect it from the direct incoming sun rays. If you have to walk around a lot then wear a hat this will provide extra protection for your head, face, ears, and even neck.
It has been observed that a person who has already had a certain type of skin cancer is more likely to get another one as compared to a person who hasn’t.
Although it is not definitive these people should be extra careful and be very cautious during their sun exposure as they are at higher risk.
Is skin cancer genetic, well there is yet another angel to it. Even if you had certain skin conditions like keratosis it is also an increased risk.
Keratosis is usually caused by prolonged sun exposure spread over years, which causes rough, scaly, and red patches of skin development on your face, hands, and even scalp.
Some other skin conditions like psoriasis have treatment procedures that make you more susceptible to skin cancer because the treatment itself uses a lot of ultraviolet light.
4. Final Thoughts – Is Skin Cancer Genetic?
There are many causes for skin cancer and there are a lot of other factors which come into play, so one decisive answer to the question is not really possible.
But, in conclusion to the question, of is skin cancer genetic we shall close by saying yes.