Take On Cancer is what we do at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. In a world where 1 in 2.5 people will hear "it's cancer," we want to make sure that you are able to take on cancer too.
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July 27, 2017
Many factors can increase the risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers. Some of these factors are due to behaviors, like exposure to the sun. However, some risk factors for skin cancers are inherited in families.
Researchers have identified several genetic risk factors for melanoma. Mutations (or changes) in these genes can cause increased risk for melanoma. The best understood gene associated with melanoma risk is called CDKN2A (also sometimes known as p16). Mutations in another gene, MC1R, result in red hair and fair skin, and are also associated with risk for melanoma. More recently, mutations in the MITF gene and the TERT gene have been identified in families with multiple cases of melanoma. Researchers are still learning about how to use genetic testing to help take care of families with genetic risk.