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Redheads could have higher risk of developing Melanoma

November 02, 2012- Doctors for a number of years have urged people who have fair skin, freckles and red hair to avoid too much sun and the damaging ultraviolet rays it emits. Going outside without sunscreen and a protective hat was simply asking for skin cancer. However, now a study suggests that people with fair complexions and ginger colored hair face a higher risk of skin cancer even if they are covered up.

However, the study performed on mice indicates that pheomelanin pigment, the pigment that makes red hair red, is in itself a possible trigger for developing melanoma, skin cancer’s deadliest form.

The study was published this week online and suggests that the reddish-yellow pigment, which produces rusty colored hair and difficulty in tanning, is a potential trigger in cancer.

The new findings appear to give answers to the riddle of how come darker-skinned people have a much lower risk of developing melanoma than those people who are lighter skinned, even if the dark skinned people only have sun protective factors that are just two to four times more than lighter skinned people.

This might also give the answer as to why red-haired people are even more susceptible to developing melanoma than everyone else, including blondes.

Dr. David Fisher, the senior author of the recent study said the even if red-haired people make sure to avoid UV rays by wearing sunscreen, being careful while at the beach or wearing clothes that are protective it is still possible the red pigment is related to activity that is carcinogenic anyway.

Melanoma, the deadliest of all skin cancers, begins in the cells that are pigment producing or the melanocytes and is more often associated with having fair skin or high exposure to sunlight or a large number of moles.

It is estimated that over 76,000 people will be diagnosed in 2012 with melanoma and over 9,000 will lose their lives from the cancer.

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