BMI May Be Linked to Skin Cancer

Today’s topic: New studies suggest that the same gene associated with obesity are also found in skin cancer.

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Obesity Gene May Be Linked to Skin Cancer

Image of beach umbrella
By Amada44, via Wikimedia Commons

WEST YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND — A new study conducted at the University of Leeds and published in Nature Genetics suggests that the genes associated in obesity are also found in skin cancer.

Malignant melanoma is the most fatal type of skin cancer. Each year, there are about 12,800 novel cases and approximately 2,200 deaths resulting from the disease.

Researchers at the University of Leeds have stated that their study shows individuals with certain variations in a stretch of DNA within the FTO gene, known as itron 8, have a higher chance of developing this deadly cancer.

The study consisted of gathering and analyzing data on tumor samples of over 13,000 melanoma patients and nearly 60,000 non-melanoma patients. Their findings showed that most of the subjects that were considered obese in fact had the gene in which increased their risk of melanoma.

These variants are associated with BMI (body mass index), which calculates a person’s shape by using their height and weight. People with high BMIs may have a raised risk of a range of diseases, such as kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, womb (endometrial) cancer and a host of other problems.

Dr Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK’s senior science information manager says:

“These are fascinating early findings that, if confirmed in further research, could potentially provide new targets for the development of drugs to treat melanoma.”

Dr. Sharp continues explain how to try to avoid skin cancer:

· Still enjoy the outdoors, but use appropriate sun protecting lotions
· Avoid tanning beds
· Wear hats, use umbrellas and consider other accessories to shade your face from the sun
· Wear sunglasses since your eyes can succumb to sun damage as well
· Carry around chapstick to protect your lips
· Try to moderate the hours you spend in the sun weekly

Have a healthy day,

Larry Berman

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