Scientists have found two genes, associated with an increased risk of melanoma.

The discovery could lead to earlier detection of the potentially deadly disease.

Elyse Goyen reports.


The Queensland Institute of Medical Research has announced the discovery of two genetic variants that increase the risk of melanoma.

The three year international study examined the DNA of more than 20,000 people from Europe, Australia and the United States.

The new gene variants have been added to the list of 18 that help determine the risk of the potentially deadly disease.

Professor Nick Hayward, Qld Institute of Medical Research: “There is a large collection of genes if you like that are involved in a persons risk of developing melanoma.”

The results suggest some people are more susceptible to melanoma and some are at higher risk of developing certain other types of cancer.

More than 10,000 Australians are diagnosed with melanoma each year. Professor Hayward says the research will lead to the early detection of such cancers within the next five years.

The research will allow experts to predict those at highest risk early on.

Lisa McFadyen, CEO Melanoma Patients Australia: “The central message is early detection, that’s the key message with melanoma.”

While the research will eventually play a role in melanoma prevention, the advice for this summer is simply this.

Professor Nick Hayward, Qld Institute of Medical Research: “The ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ message is still important to heed because ultra violet light from sun light is still a very major carcinogen and the major risk factor for developing melanoma.”

Elyse Goyen, QUT News.