World-first saliva study for skin cancer


Queensland researchers are recruiting for the world’s largest skin cancer study. They want 20,000 volunteers to give up some saliva.

Amber Gifford reports.

TRANSCRIPT

Skins cancers are invasive and deadly.

Now scientists want to know how genes play a role in their development.

And they hope your spit might tell them.

They’re looking for more than 20,000 mature volunteers.

David Whiteman, QIMR: “People over the age of 30 are starting to show signs of sun damage and they are starting to develop skin cancers at a rate that makes them attractive to be in the study.”

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, with more than 400,000 people treated annually.

Dr David Francis, College of Dermatologists: “One in three people have a skin cancer by the time they’re 50, which is a big number.”

Saliva is a quick way of getting DNA, and information about genes. So that’s what the researchers are seeking.

Adam Robinson, Volunteer: “I’m quite aware that previous sun exposure has raised the risk that I’m under cancer, so it is something I wanted to contribute to part of the study to find those genes that are contributing to cancer.”

You can take part in the study by visiting the Qskin Genetics web page.

While research is still ongoing, the expert advice is the best way to protect yourself; sit in the shade, slip, slop and slap on a hat.

Amber Gifford, QUT News.