A rare, inherited disorder marked by rapid aging that begins in early adolescence or young adulthood and an increased risk of cancer. Signs and symptoms include shorter-than-average height, thinning and graying hair, skin changes, thin arms and legs, voice changes, and unusual facial features. This disorder can also lead to health problems, such as cataracts, skin ulcers, severe hardening of the arteries, diabetes, osteoporosis, and fertility problems. People with Werner syndrome have an increased risk of cancer, especially thyroid cancer, skin cancer, and sarcoma (a type of bone or soft tissue cancer). Werner syndrome is caused by a mutation (change) in the WRN gene, which makes a protein involved in DNA repair. Also called adult progeria and WS.