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What is Xeroderma Pigmentosum?

Xeroderma Pigmentosum, referred to as XP, is a rare inherited disease that causes extreme sensitivity to the sun's ultraviolet rays. Unless the patients with XP are protected from sunlight, their skin and eyes may be severely damaged. This damage may lead to cancers of the skin and eyes and death. 


The signs of XP usually appear in infancy or early childhood. Many affected children develop severe sunburn after spending just a few minutes in the sun. The sunburn causes redness and blistering that can last for weeks. Other affected children do not get sunburned with minimal sun exposure but tan normally.


By age 2, almost all children with Xeroderma Pigmentosum develop skin freckling in sun-exposed areas (such as the face, arms, and lips); this type of freckling rarely occurs in young children without the disorder. In affected individuals, exposure to sunlight often causes dry skin (Xeroderma) and changes in skin coloring (pigmentation). This combination of features gives the condition its name, Xeroderma Pigmentosum.

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What Cause XP?

What Causes XP?

Two factors combine to cause the abnormalities in XP: First, a person inherits traits from each parent, which, when combined, lead to an unusual sensitivity to the damaging effects of ultraviolet light. Second, exposure to the sun, which contains ultraviolet light, leads to changes in the skin and eyes.

Skin cancer often develops in the first ten years of life in XP Patients. In addition to skin and eye changes, about 20% of XP patients may have one or more nerve-related problems, including deafness, poor coordination, spastic muscles, or developmental delay.

Can XP be treated?

Currently, there is no cure for XP. Still, much can be done to prevent and treat some of the problems it causes: protection from ultraviolet light, frequent skin and eye examinations, and prompt removal of cancerous tissue. Some patients may also require neurological examinations or psycho-social care.

●  Protection from ultraviolet light

●  Frequent skin and eye examinations

●  Prompt removal of cancerous tissue.

●  Neurological examinations

●  Psycho-social care.

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Donate to
New England XP
and Help to Fight
Xeroderma Pigmentosum!

Donations to support Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP) research and care are greatly appreciated. XP is a rare genetic disorder that affects the skin and eyes, making them highly sensitive to ultraviolet radiation and leading to an increased risk of skin cancer. By donating, you can help fund research to find treatments and cures for XP. You can also support the development of resources to help individuals and families who are affected by XP. Your donation will make a difference in the fight against this rare and debilitating disorder. Thank you for your generous support.

Get in Touch


New England XP, Inc.
PO BOX  1754
LAWRENCE, MA 01840-9998

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