Redheads at higher risk of skin cancer - EDU

Redheads at higher risk of skin cancer

People with red hair and fair complexion face an elevated risk of developing melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, regardless of whether they venture out in the Sun or not.

The reddish-yellow pigment that gives rise to rusty locks and an inability to tan - is itself a potential trigger in the development of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

"Even if you're good about avoiding UV rays, you know, putting on sunscreen, wearing protective clothes and being careful at the beach, it's still possible this red pigment is related to carcinogenic activity.

Melanoma is a from of cancer that begins in the skin's pigment-producing cells, or melanocytes, and is often associated with fair skin, excessive exposure to sunlight and tanning lamps, or a preponderance of moles.

The colour of human skin, hair and eyes is dictated by two types of melanin pigment: pheomelanin, which is reddish-yellow, and eumelanin, which is brownish-black.
Fisher and colleagues set out to examine how moles can develop into melanoma when exposed to ultraviolet light, a form of radiation that can damage DNA.

The test subjects were mice bred to be susceptible to cancer. Because mouse hair is also determined by eumelanin and pheomelanin, researchers used black, albino and golden-yellow , or "red-headed", mice to mimic a range of human pigmentation.

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