Link between obesity and deadliest form of skin cancer uncovered

Scientists have discovered a link between obesity and malignant melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer.

Until recently health experts believed the prime cause of the disease was down to frequent use of sunbeds and intense sunbathing, but scientists now have evidence to prove that being drastically overweight could also be a factor.

Researchers from Cancer research UK examined the DNA of 73,000 patients, 13,000 of which had skin cancer, to find that those carrying an obesity-associated protein were most likely to develop melanoma. says the enzyme in question is known simply is FTO and scientists believe this may be a contributing factor to the development of skin cancer.

If the lure of getting fit and healthy wasn't enough for obese Brits to go on counselling courses to solve their dietary issues, stats revealing the impact of melanoma could well prompt action.

Melanoma is only the fifth most common cancer in Britain, but can be highly dangerous if not detected and treated early. Research shows the disease causing 2,200 deaths in the UK every year, while says it accounts for roughly 79 per cent of all skin cancer deaths.

Dr Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK's senior science information manager described the findings as "fascinating", backing them to provide new targets for the development of drugs to treat melanoma.

She added: "Advances in understanding more about the molecules driving skin cancer have already enabled us to develop important new skin cancer drugs that will make a real difference for patients."