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May 02

Discover The Relationship Between Being Red-Headed And The Risk Of Skin Cancer

Redhead people express a gene called MC1R and this makes them more vulnerable to sun damage. This has been confirmed by two recent studies on the susceptibility of manifesting skin cancer.

The gene in question is inherited from parents (both parents) and are responsible for the appearance of red hair, freckles and white skin like milk. Well apart from these characteristics of known leftovers now it is also known that these people have twice the risk of suffering from melanoma even regardless of exposure to the sun. And not only that, but those who inherit an allele (only one gene from one parent) and do not necessarily have red hair, still have an increased risk of sun damage and therefore suffer from cancer compared to those who do not Are carriers of this allele.

In fact, redhead people have long been known to be at increased risk of developing skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanomas, but the reason was not known. I recommend you read article 10 foods to combat and protect from cancer .

Discover The Relationship Between Being Red-Headed And The Risk Of Skin CancerDiscover the relationship between being red-headed and the risk of skin cancer

Responsible for the tanning of the skin are pigments, the melanin specifically, whose production is linked to the MC1R gene (it is a melanocortin 1 receptor). This gene that controls the balance of two hormones:

Eumelanin (dark brown or black),

Pheomelanin, (red-orange).

The MC1r gene has more than 30 different alleles with mutations, some of which are defined as R alleles. These cause loss of MC1r gene function. What does that mean? That if the function of MC1r is lost, it increases the production of pheomelanin. Remember that it is the hormone that brings a red-orange hue. This hormone had already been associated in the 1990s with red hair, white skin and less protection from the sun. Now it is confirmed that it is.

But you have to remember that each individual has two copies of each gene. One inherited from the father and one from the mother (except for males with sex chromosomes, X and Y, who have only one copy). Only those with two copies of the R allele have red hair but the hair color is not given by a single copy of the same allele in the case of blond or black color.

A study published in April in the journal JAMA Dermatology  studies the correlation between sun exposure and skin cancer. They inferred that for cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell there is a strict relationship between sun exposures and suffer this type of tumors. But the relationship between loss of MC1r gene function and melanomas was not so clear…

Redhead melanoma

From studies in mice it was seen that there were more cases of cancer in those who lost this function and exposure to the sun but not just the sun. Cancer cases also increased even in mice that never saw the sun but lacked the function of the gene. That is, the mere fact of being red-haired already makes them more susceptible to melanoma and more so if they are exposed to the sun. I also recommend you read the article discover the weapons with which the cancer beats the drugs.

In humans it is somewhat more complicated to study because there are hardly people who never leave their home in life but have tried to see the relationship with other types of studies. The researchers studied 991 melanoma patients and 800 control subjects to look for the association between sunburn and severe signs of sun damage to the skin at risk for melanoma. In this case they did not take into account the genetics of the patients. It was seen that it was enough to have 12 episodes of sunburn throughout life or with 10 or more episodes before turning 20 to double the risk of melanoma.

They then studied the MC1R gene from the same patients. They found that the presence of R alleles was significantly associated with the risk of melanoma. Even if there was no history of previous burns and although the skin had no visible signs. Those carrying one or both alleles of the gene were twice as likely to become ill as non-carriers of the mutated gene.

That is, the likelihood is similar among redheads for the simple fact of having this gene and people who do not have the alleles but have burned several times throughout their life.

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