Genetic predisposition to skin cancer may involve a variety of mechanisms. Firstly, there is a group of genetic disorders associated with a predisposition to specific skin cancers, and in which the premalignant lesions are primarily confined to the skin (see Table 11.1). These disorders are discussed below under the specific skin cancer involved. A second group comprises hereditary skin disorders which (possibly by virtue of chronic inflammation) predispose to skin cancers (see Table 11.1). These are described after the specific skin cancers (p. 139). The final group includes genetic disorders which (i) predispose to both skin and systemic neoplasms, or (ii) predispose to systemic neoplasia but are associated with cutaneous stigmata. These conditions are discussed in part three and include the chromosome breakage disorders (Bloom syndrome (p. 174), Fanconi anaemia (p. 193), ataxia telangiectasia (p. 167), xeroderma pigmentosum (p. 259), Cowden syndrome (p. 179), dermatitis herpetiformis/coeliac disease (p. 178), Di George syndrome, familial hyperglucagonaemia, Gardner syndrome (p. 184), Gorlin syndrome (p. 196), haemochromatosis, multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2B, p. 224), neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1, p. 230), porphyria (p. 243), tuberose sclerosis (p. 246) and tylosis (p. 252).
Specific skin cancers
With Julia A Newton-Bishop
Melanoma is a relatively uncommon cancer, with an incidence in most of Northern Europe of around 10 per 100 000 per annum (Parkin et al., 1997). In many countries, and particularly in the UK, it is more common in women.