Skin cancer: Help fund research into genes and lifestyle choices
Last updated: 08/08/2013
What's this research about?
Skin cancer is more common in the UK than you might think.
More than 98,800 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer were registered in 2008, and over the last 25 years rates of the most dangerous form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, have risen faster than any of the top ten cancers in males and females.
Every year, around 2,500 people lose their lives to skin cancer the majority from melanoma.
The impact of your support
Cancer Research UK is the largest funder of skin cancer research in the UK. Thanks to your support, we are able to study the disease from all angles, from uncovering the causes to developing new treatments.
With your help, we can continue to fund pioneering research that could lead to new discoveries that may save more lives from this disease.
Supporting this project
Anonymous donatedThis is such vital work.
Christine donatedThank you to everyone who i... Thank you to everyone who is helping to find a cure for malignant melanoma. This is such important work. more
Anonymous donatedMy dear Sister died last ye... My dear Sister died last year of melanoma and i hope my donation helps in someway to help research and find a cure for this terrible disease. more
Project closed – June 2013
Thanks to your support, we have achieved the project target of £35,000! Thank you to everyone who has fundraised and donated to help fund our research into skin cancer.
This project is now closed but you can continue to support our work as we are raising money for another area of skin cancer research:
What's the science behind this research?
Most skin cancers are caused by damage from the sun’s harmful UV rays or sunbeds. But sun damage is not the whole story. Our genes can also influence the development of skin cancer, and some skin cancers can be caused by certain strains of a common virus called human papilloma virus.
Here are some examples of our skin cancer work:
Studying non-melanoma skin cancer
Professor Irene Leigh at the University of Dundee heads up the Cancer Research UK Skin Tumour Laboratory. She is a leading expert on non-melanoma skin cancer and is studying how this cancer develops in a variety of ways.
Some of her work is focused on finding the rogue genes that contribute to the development of the disease, and to identifying the earliest genetic changes in skin cells that put them on the path to becoming cancerous. Her work may reveal new ways to treat non-melanoma skin cancer.
Identifying people at higher risk of malignant melanoma
Malignant melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Professor Julia Newton-Bishop, from the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine is looking at how a family history of this disease can make some people more likely to develop it.
Professor Newton-Bishop is also looking at how our lifestyle choices interact with our genes to affect our risk of cancer, including whether our genes give us different "tolerances" to sun exposure. This work could help to reveal new ways to identify people at higher risk and treat this dangerous disease.
The difference you can make
Cancer Research UK first made the link between sun exposure and skin cancer back in 1935 and have continued to try and raise awareness ever since. And we’ve successfully lobbied to make sunbed use by young people under 18 years old illegal in England.
We’ve also been behind several discoveries which have revealed more about skin cancer and how to treat it. For example, our scientists discovered that faults in a gene called BRAF contribute to over half of all cases of melanoma skin cancer. Since then, our scientists have led efforts to develop drugs that target this gene, and drugs targeting BRAF are now showing promise in clinical trials.
We want to raise £35,000 which is the equivalent of one year’s worth of DNA profiling for a project like Professor Newton-Bishop’s. It’s with your help that we can continue groundbreaking work like this, which could lead to new discoveries that may save more lives from this disease.