Is it possible? Will my kids have skin cancer like me? Is skin cancer hereditary?
Of course, I already know the answer for our family, but do you know your family’s risk yet?
Yes, skin cancer does seem to be passed from one generation to another.
My kids have each already had multiple visits to the dermatologist and have had surgery for their skin cancer. We are actually waiting for the grandkids to start their battles with this same condition. Have we not learned anything during this ongoing skin cancer battle?
Yes, we have. Can we undo the damage? No, we can’t! However, we can prevent more damage going forward. Here is how we are working to prevent further skin damage from too much sun:
How We Are Preventing More Skin Cancer In Our Family
The Center For Disease Control lets us know that most skin cancer has one simple cause. Too much exposure to ultraviolet light. Those UV rays are simply a kind of radiation that is invisible. These invisible rays are dangerous for our skin whether from the sun or tanning beds.
These UV rays will damage your skin cells in winter and summer. So you must protect your skin, in summer, and winter. There is no “off” time for skin cancer. Damage is damage, summer or winter.
Finally, there is enough research to warrant information for sharing so people can do their best to stop skin cancer in their families, so I wanted to share what is working for us.
We are aware that we can no longer be in the sun for hours and not have skin damage. So we either limit the time in the sun or make sure we are covered with sun blocking clothing and sunscreen where we are not covered.
Is this a change for us? Yes, it is. We have never respected the danger of the sun, that is until we learned about skin cancer. Now our outings include sun blocking hats, long sleeve, and loosely fitting sun blocking shirts.
Sunglasses were important, but now are something we don’t get outside without now. Is it more trouble to gather the things we need for protecting our skin? Yes, but not as much trouble as it was last year. And surely not as much trouble as the surgery trips and testing trips and post-surgical care trips are.
Are You Able To Control The Cancer Tendencies You Inherited?
Skin cancer cases within a family of people with skin cancer can make you think you can do nothing about it, so you will ignore the whole idea!
In a family, there are usually many similar risks, like the color of your skin, the color of your eyes, and your hair. In our family, we have sure stuck with the genes that make strawberry blonde hair, and blue, green, and brown eyes. Freckles are there too.
The other thing that we inherited was a love for being outdoors and water sports. These things are a lifestyle. Did we want to change them? No, we didn’t, but have learned to make some adjustments as time has gone by.
We choose our outdoor times better now. And those sun protection garments are used! We appreciate sunscreen and the fact that protecting our sensitive skin from the sun requires covering up and sunscreen.
As the 2 skin cancers, basal cell melanoma, and squamous cell melanoma can be prevented by avoiding too much sun, we can help ourselves by preventing more damage. And as these are the two kinds of skin cancer we have had in our family, this is why we have worked to protect our skin
However, there is melanoma. Another form of skin cancer that is activated by sun exposure. So even if you don’t get a sunburn you could get a tumor from the sun merely shining on your skin. This is why people with darker color skin tones have more of this kind of skin cancer than the other two.
So let’s look at a quick summary of what Skin Cancer.net has to say about malignant melanoma, and why some families have more of this than other families.
The term Familial Malignant Melanoma is used when a link to this skin cancer is found in your family history.
Melanoma A Form Of Cancer
The term cancer refers to an uncontrollable form of former healthy cells reproducing and forming a mass. It is like the cells have lost the off switch!
Patients with melanoma frequently have largely flat, irregular moles that can be different colors. They are usually on sun-exposed skin but are not limited to exposed skin. If you have this kind of mole, pay attention to it, and get it checked if it changes in appearance or itches, or becomes inflamed.
Also, moles are not the only way they show themselves. Lumps or bumps can also house melanoma.
Now for family lines for melanoma. Normally when there is a parent or sibling, or even your child who has melanoma your risks go up. If you have one of these in your history, your chances are higher.
Only about 8% of the patients with malignant tumors have a first-degree relative who also has the same issue. So it isn’t panic time should one of your family be diagnosed with melanoma. It is time to be aware, and self-check your skin for any signs.
Science is leaning toward the idea that most cases of melanoma occur by chance. However, the results of all this will take a while longer as more data is put into the information already used.
Remember, skin protection is a new science and is still being studied
Sami’s Take On Will My Kids Have Skin Cance Like Me?
While lifestyles remain the most important thing you can change for protecting your kids from skin cancer, your kids, like mine will probably have some brush with this form of cancer.
If your family was not an outdoor family, you may not have early childhood damage as we all had.
Hopefully, you were aware earlier in life than we were about what we were doing to our skin. Have you lived past 40 and had no skin cancer? Congratulations, we didn’t make it that far.
Lifestyle is the one factor we can control. Melanoma is getting more scientific study because it is more deadly than basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. These, if caught early can usually be treated early and have little effect on our daily lives.
Melanoma with tumors is more deadly and harder to treat. The other two are considered preventable, so not getting as much attention.
How is the future looking for your family and skin cancer? Have you made some changes?
Here are a couple of questions you might ask when visiting your Dr:
- Do I have a high risk of melanoma?
- Should I consider cancer screening?