Getting To Know More About Gorlin Syndrome

Posted on: 12 July 2016


The skin is the largest organ of the human body. However, for many people, conditions that affect the skin are largely a mystery, especially when they affect children. One condition that many people are not aware of is Gorlin syndrome. Get to know more about this rare condition that affects the skin as well as numerous other systems in the body so that you know what to look out for and what you can do if your child is diagnosed with the condition. Then, you can be sure that you work with your dermatologist and other physicians to get the care and support you need to stay healthy.

Understanding Gorlin Syndrome

Gorlin syndrome is technically classified as a genodermatosis. This means that it is a genetic skin condition and is also often referred to as Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome. It is caused by an inherited mutation in a gene known as the PTCH gene.

What Gorlin Syndrome Does

Gorlin syndrome is a condition that increases the affected person's risk of basal cell carcinomas (a form of skin cancer). While this condition is present at birth, it is often not until your child is a pre-teen or teenager that the signs are noticeable. Several basal cell carcinomas (skin growths that may look like moles, skin tags, or pimples that will not go away) may appear as well as cysts on the jaw or other bones. Upon closer examination, your child may be found to have calcium deposits on their facial bones which can help to confirm a Gorlin syndrome diagnosis.

What Can Be Done About Gorlin Syndrome

Because Gorlin syndrome is a genetic mutation, it is not a curable condition. However, once your child has been diagnosed with the condition, you will be better able to provide them with the care they need. Basal cell carcinomas are one of the biggest concerns when dealing with Gorlin syndrome. However, they are treatable.

Your child will need to make frequent visits to a dermatologist to have their skin examined and have any basal cell carcinomas examined and removed if possible. Topical chemotherapy drugs can also be used to get rid of basal cell carcinomas that may not be removable surgically because of their size or location. Of course, staying out of the sun and always wearing sunscreen when out in the sun will help reduce your child's risk of developing such skin cancer lesions.

There is also a small increase in risk (compared to people who do not suffer from Gorlin syndrome), that your child will suffer from a brain stem tumor known as a medulloblastoma. This means that your child will need neurological exams regularly. With regular routine care and treatments for the issues they are predisposed to, your child will be able to live a full and happy life in spite of their Gorlin syndrome.

For more information, contact Heibel Dermatology or a similar location.