All in the Family

A recent study in the British Medical Journal found that children of a parent with a history of melanoma or squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) have a greatly increased risk of developing these skin cancers themselves, even if the parents developed their skin cancers at an advanced age.

  • On average, those with a parent who has been diagnosed with melanoma are almost 300 percent more likely to develop the disease than children who do not have a parent with a history of melanoma.

  • One in 10 melanoma patients has a relative with a history of the disease.

  • An estimated 76,690 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the US in 2013; the disease will kill 9,480.

  • Children with a parent who has been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are 220 percent more likely to develop the disease than those who do not have a parent with a history of SCC.

  • The second most common skin cancer, SCC affects an estimated 700,000 people in the US annually. It kills approximately 2,500 every year.

Since about 86 percent of melanomas and 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers can be attributed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, it is essential for children of parents with a history of skin cancer to practice daily sun protection. For more information, read The Skin Cancer Foundation’s complete sun safety regimen.