Summertime Protection

Editor’s note: Pending an FDA decision, 23andMe no longer offers new customers access to health reports referred to in this post. Customers who purchased prior to November 22, 2013 will still be able to see their health reports, but those who purchased after that time will not. Those customers will have access to ancestry information as well as access to their uninterpreted raw data.

It’s summertime, you’ve got the beach chair, a trashy novel and sunscreen, but do you have your 23andMe results?

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As the days get longer and people squeeze in a little vacation time, our exposure to the sun’s harmful rays goes up and so too does our need to protect against overexposure.

Both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers have been linked to genetics and sun exposure.

23andMe’s Health and Trait reports look at some of the genetic variants linked to skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the United States. While everyone should protect themselves from too much sun, some people — particularly those with light skin, fair hair and a genetic risk for skin cancer — should be particularly vigilant.

23andMe assesses your genetic risks for melanoma, the least common skin cancer but the most deadly form. We also provide preliminary information about how your genetics may impact risk for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma — both of which are more common and more easily treated.

(View your results for more genetic factors linked to squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma in your account. Not yet a customer? Visit our store!)

The exact causes of melanoma are not known, but exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning lamps greatly increases the risk of developing the disease.

The American Academy of Dermatology has developed the “ABCDEs” of melanoma to help people recognize melanomas and distinguish them from harmless moles. People should look out for moles that are Asymmetrical, have irregular Borders, have variations in Color, are larger than about a quarter inch in Diameter or are Evolving (changing) over time.


  • Kathy

    I received my 23AndMe results and I don’t show melanoma yet I did have a melanoma removed five years ago.

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