Teenagers not learning from parent's cancer

In collaboration with the Press Association

Teenagers whose mothers have been diagnosed with skin cancer are not significantly more likely than other teenagers to protect themselves from the sun, researchers claim.

Effective protection is doubly important among these teenagers as they are at an increased risk of the disease, said Alan Geller of the Boston School of Medicine.

"[Parents] need to be aware of the fact that there's risk for their kids and they need to be much more vigilant about sun protection practices," Dr Geller told Reuters.

For basal and squamous cell cancers the risks are at least doubled while in the case of melanoma the risks increase by as much as between two and eightfold.

The researchers studied 9,943 teenage children of women who took part in a health survey.

The mothers of 783 of the teenagers had family histories of skin cancer and 463 had been diagnosed with the disease.

Of the children whose mothers had been diagnosed with skin cancer, 42 per cent used sunscreen, compared to a third of the children whose mothers had a history of melanoma.

Among those with no family histories of cancer 34 per cent used sunscreen. Despite this, teenagers with a family history were more likely to have been sunburned over the past summer, one of the key risk factors for skin cancer.

Cancer Research UK's SunSmart campaign recommends people enjoy the sun responsibly and provides advice on staying safe.

Visit the SunSmart website

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