About Careers Internship MedBlog Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Redheads With Pale Skin at High Risk of Developing Skin Cancer

by Kathy Jones on November 1, 2012 at 8:46 PM
Font : A-A+

 Redheads With Pale Skin at High Risk of Developing Skin Cancer

A new study by American researchers have found that redheads who have pale skin are at a greater risk of developing the most deadly form of skin cancer regardless of their amount of exposure to the sun.

Not only is this group more vulnerable to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, but a study in mice has now shown that the pigment that gives hair a red hue may in itself have cancer-causing effects, said a paper in the journal Nature.

Advertisement

"We studied melanoma formation in 'redheaded' mice and discovered that the red pigment had an ability to promote melanoma formation, even in the absence of ultraviolet radiation exposure," co-author David Fisher, cancer centre director at Massachusetts General Hospital, told AFP.

"This was a surprising result for us, because we expected that fair skinned people get melanoma due to weak protection from sunlight and ultraviolet radiation.
Advertisement

"However the results suggest that even without UV exposure, the red pigment may contribute to melanoma formation" by damaging healthy cells.

Light-skinned redheads with freckles and an inability to tan have trouble producing the black-grown pigment eumelanin, which absorbs harmful UV rays -- instead producing the red-yellow pigment pheomelanin which provides a weak UV shield.

In lab studies using dark, red and albino mice, Fisher and a team discovered that melanoma occurred more frequently in the red mice than the other two groups, regardless of whether they were exposed to UV or not.

The study showed "that completely avoiding UV rays would not protect red-haired people from melanoma," United States cancer researchers Mizuho Fukunaga-Kalabis and Meenhard Herlyn wrote in a comment carried by Nature.

About 132,000 cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are diagnosed each year and two to three million non-melanoma cancers, according to the World Health Organisation, which says the numbers rise every year.

Fukunaga-Kalabis and Herlyn said the findings begged the question: what can be done beyond sun protection to reduce melanoma risk in red-haired, fair-skinned people?

Research was needed, the pair said, into the drugs that may induce eumelanin production or boost cancer-protecting antioxidants.

"Moreover, red-haired individuals should undergo frequent dermatological skin checks, besides avoiding sun exposure."

Source: AFP
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
What's New on Medindia
Test Your Knowledge on Liver Transplantation
Organ Donation Week 2022 - 'Take the Pledge to Save Lives'
Test your Knowledge on Heart Transplantation
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
Date
Category
Advertisement
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Boils / Skin Abscess Skin Cancer Cancer and Homeopathy Ultra-Violet Radiation Cancer Facts Pityriasis rosea Cancer Tattoos A Body Art Pemphigus Hives 

Most Popular on Medindia

Blood Pressure Calculator Blood - Sugar Chart Noscaphene (Noscapine) Pregnancy Confirmation Calculator Color Blindness Calculator Drug Side Effects Calculator Sanatogen Drug Interaction Checker Accident and Trauma Care Diaphragmatic Hernia
This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use