Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Risk of Family Members

I have read and been told that family members of those with melanoma are also at higher risk at developing the disease.  What's amazing is that it's not typically something that's "passed down"...but "passed aside."

Skin cancer and melanoma is statistically linked to be higher risk among siblings.  When I asked my dermatologist, Dr. Johnson of Cary Dermatology about this, he stated that it's basically true.  "Siblings grow up in the same environment.  They typically have the same son exposure as children and the same level of sun protection, or lack thereof."

When my brother, Jeff, was first diagnosed with melanoma in 2005, he was very serious when encouraging me to see a dermatologist.  I did, and I've continued to see one every year to get a full skin exam.  In that timeframe, I've had two areas removed...thank goodness no melanoma found in either sample during a biopsy.  But I have many freckles, fair skin, and have had way more than 5 sunburns as a child.  Even without my sibling relationship, I'm a high risk candidate.

I encourage everyone to see a dermatologist once a year fo a full body screen...especially if you've had a sibling who had melanoma.

Feel free to share your stories and thoughts in this blog at any time.

I found an article this evening commenting on this a bit further.

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