Spit skin cancer issues could be released


Scientists plan to collect DNA samples from 20,000 adults to find out which genes may be contributing to diseases that help 400,000 Australians seek treatment every year.

They are looking for recruits from all Australian states and territories, including those with skin cancer, who have never had them, and a range of skin types.

Saliva samples will be used to develop a genetic database, building on profiles from 18,000 Queenslanders who participated in the original round of the study ten years ago.

Professor David Whiteman from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute says that a large number of people are needed to find the important genes.

"You do not need to have skin cancer signed. It is equally important for people who have no history of skin cancer to enter this study so that we can find the protective genes that reduce the risk of these cancers," he says.

"By comparing genetic data from a large cross section of people, we will also find vital information about how skin cancer develops, so that we can work towards better ways of preventing and treating them."

Brisbane's mother, Cathy Matt, registered with the first study because she always suspected that there could be a genetic link with her family's skin cancer woes.

“My mother, my two brothers and sisters, other members of my extended family, had cut skin cancer and would like to know what we do as susceptible and if it is in our genes,” she says.

She admits that she was not safe as a kid, but she now gives very real protection and makes sure that her son Riley also does.

"Although I believe it is genetic, it does not mean that it cannot be prevented. I protect my son from the sun," she says.

"It would be great if we could find out if we are doing enough – slip, slope, slap and wearing sunglasses – or if my family's history needs something else."

© AAP 2019

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