(Image Credit: BBC)


BY ADAM SMITH
ANCHOR ANA COMPAIN-ROMERO


A new study suggests people with red hair may be genetically predisposed to one one of the deadliest forms of cancer. Houston’s KRIV has the details.

“New research found pigments which gives hair a red hue also increases the risk of melanoma. This is even without exposure to the Sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays.”


The study comes out of Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital where researchers planned to use mice to study how moles develop into melanoma after exposure to to ultraviolet radiation.

However, as Medical News Today writes, researchers quickly noticed something different between the dark and light-skinned mice they used.

“[Researchers] found that within a few months, half of the red animals developed melanomas, compared to very few of the dark ones. They genetically disabled all the pigment production in the red hair/fair skinned mice ... The incidence of melanoma among these albino redheads dropped dramatically.”

The study published in the journal “Nature” suggests that it’s something about the pigment in the hair that predisposes redheads to the cancer without exposure to UV light.

But as the lead scientist for the study told the journal, they’re still not entirely sure why.

“There is something about the redhead genetic background that is behaving in a carcinogenic fashion, independent of UV. It means that shielding from UV would not be enough.”

So while the findings may be scary for those of you with red hair -- don’t worry just yet. Findings in animals do not always correlate to humans. And as the lead scientist told The Boston Globe, there’s no new risk and, in fact, this could be a very helpful discovery.

“We’ve known for a long time that people with red hair and fair skin have the highest melanoma risk. These new findings do not increase that risk but identify a new mechanism to help explain it.”

So while studies continue, doctors are continuing to suggest covering up from the sun, wearing sunblock, avoiding tanning beds -- regardless of your hair color.

Redheads Predisposed to Having Melanoma, Study Suggests

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Nov 2, 2012

Redheads Predisposed to Having Melanoma, Study Suggests

(Image Credit: BBC)


BY ADAM SMITH
ANCHOR ANA COMPAIN-ROMERO


A new study suggests people with red hair may be genetically predisposed to one one of the deadliest forms of cancer. Houston’s KRIV has the details.

“New research found pigments which gives hair a red hue also increases the risk of melanoma. This is even without exposure to the Sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays.”


The study comes out of Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital where researchers planned to use mice to study how moles develop into melanoma after exposure to to ultraviolet radiation.

However, as Medical News Today writes, researchers quickly noticed something different between the dark and light-skinned mice they used.

“[Researchers] found that within a few months, half of the red animals developed melanomas, compared to very few of the dark ones. They genetically disabled all the pigment production in the red hair/fair skinned mice ... The incidence of melanoma among these albino redheads dropped dramatically.”

The study published in the journal “Nature” suggests that it’s something about the pigment in the hair that predisposes redheads to the cancer without exposure to UV light.

But as the lead scientist for the study told the journal, they’re still not entirely sure why.

“There is something about the redhead genetic background that is behaving in a carcinogenic fashion, independent of UV. It means that shielding from UV would not be enough.”

So while the findings may be scary for those of you with red hair -- don’t worry just yet. Findings in animals do not always correlate to humans. And as the lead scientist told The Boston Globe, there’s no new risk and, in fact, this could be a very helpful discovery.

“We’ve known for a long time that people with red hair and fair skin have the highest melanoma risk. These new findings do not increase that risk but identify a new mechanism to help explain it.”

So while studies continue, doctors are continuing to suggest covering up from the sun, wearing sunblock, avoiding tanning beds -- regardless of your hair color.

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