PDA

View Full Version : Hidden red hair gene a skin cancer risk



rock hunter
07-12-2016, 06:16 PM
People can carry a "silent" red hair gene that raises their risk of sun-related skin cancer, experts warn.


The Sanger Institute team estimate one in every four UK people is a carrier.
The gene's effect is comparable to two decades of sun exposure in terms of cancerous changes, they say.
While people with two copies of the gene will have ginger hair, freckles and pale skin and probably know to take extra care in the sun, those with one copy may not realise they are at risk.

Around 25% of UK adults have one version of the gene called MC1R which increases their risk of malignant melanoma.
These carriers may not always look like "easy burners", say the researchers - but they are.
Although not true redheads, they will have pale skin and some freckles and are prone to sun damage. Their natural hair colour can range from brown through to blond, sometimes with a hint of red.
The researchers looked at more than 400 tumour samples from patients who had been diagnosed with melanoma.
They found that the patients who had at least one copy of a genetic variant of MC1R had 42% more sun-associated mutations in their cancers than individuals without these variations - equivalent to the toll of an additional 21 years in the sunwoman with freckles

The findings, in Nature Communications, suggest that people with the red hair gene are naturally less able to protect themselves from the sun's damaging UV rays.
MC1R provides instructions for cells that produce a pigment called melanin, which is what makes skin go brown to protect it from UV damage.
The red hair gene version of MC1R does not offer much tanning or sun protection.


Skin type and risk
Type 1 - Often burns, rarely tans. Tends to have freckles, red or fair hair, blue or green eyes
Type 2 - Usually burns, sometimes tans. Tends to have light hair, blue or brown eyes
Type 3 - Sometimes burns, usually tans. Tends to have brown hair and eyes
Type 4 - Rarely burns, often tans. Tends to have dark brown eyes and hair
Type 5 - Naturally brown skin. Often has dark brown eyes and hair
Type 6 - Naturally black-brown skin. Usually has black-brown eyes and hair



Lead researcher Dr David Adams, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said the findings reinforced the message that people need to be sun aware.
"All people, not just pale redheads, should be careful in the sun.
"It has been known for a while that a person with red hair has an increased likelihood of developing skin cancer, but this is the first time that the gene has been proven to be associated with skin cancers with more mutations.
"Unexpectedly, we also showed that people with only a single copy of the gene variant still have a much higher number of tumour mutations than the rest of the population."

Dr Julie Sharp of Cancer Research UK said: "For all of us the best way to protect skin when the sun is strong is to spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm and to cover up with a T-shirt, hat and sunglasses.
"Sunscreen helps protect the parts you can't cover - use one with at least SPF15

Cinnamon orange
07-12-2016, 06:23 PM
I am type two, though I have dark brown hair and eyes but pale skin. I had reddish hair as a child.

Amerijoe
07-12-2016, 06:56 PM
Type 1, blue eyes, pale skin, burns just thinking about the sun, absolutely no tan, my dermatologist concurs that type 1 can lead to serious skin conditions; so, that is why I'm living in Florida.:crazy:

Cinnamon orange
07-12-2016, 06:59 PM
Type 1, blue eyes, pale skin, burns just thinking about the sun, absolutely no tan, my dermatologist concurs that type 1 can lead to serious skin conditions; so, that is why I'm living in Florida.:crazy:

Just curious, I tend to burn in mediternian type places, particularly if near the sea (my nemesis), unless under an umbrella, hat and loads of spf....but when I do burn it fades to a tan. Do your burns turn to tans?

Little bit
07-12-2016, 07:05 PM
I'm so phobic of the sun these days that I don't know whether I'm a type 2 or type 3, probably closer to type 2. I spent my early years sun bathing in Southern California so I imagine I'm doomed for future skin cancers like my mom, aunt, and grandfather though they all had light eyes while mine are dark brown. I have a fair amount of freckles and sun damage and I'm now militant about staying out of the sun. Hopefully not too little, too late. Although my grandfather, mom, and aunt all have had skin cancers, none were life-threatening (so far.) My mom and aunt are alive and well while my grandfather died just shy of 86 due to a fall in his kitchen. He got the most sun exposure of all of us, spending his entire life in Southern California, never protecting his skin from the sun in any way. My grandfather, mom, and I are genotyped at 23andme and only my grandpa carried a red hair mutation: rs1805008 R160W C to T CT.

Me and my mom carry none:

rs1805007 R151C C to T CC
rs1805008 R160W C to T CC
i3002507 D294H G to C GG

Hopefully not carrying them will protect me from my reckless youth. I really love red hair and admire those who have it even after knowing this. :)

Amerijoe
07-12-2016, 07:14 PM
I use to play golf and my complexion was always red, no matter what hat or sunscreen I used. If I were to stay in the sun for more than 10 minutes I'm burned. Any longer exposure and here comes the blisters.

One note of caution, everyone should have their skin checked. It doesn't have to be a doctor, it could be anybody you trust or want to meet on a more intimate basis. :smokin:

Cinnamon orange
07-12-2016, 07:28 PM
I use to play golf and my complexion was always red, no matter what hat or sunscreen I used. If I were to stay in the sun for more than 10 minutes I'm burned. Any longer exposure and here comes the blisters.

One note of caution, everyone should have their skin checked. It doesn't have to be a doctor, it could be anybody you trust or want to meet on a more intimate basis. :smokin:

I tend to be ok if not near the water and not in the Med, the east coast of the US including the south was ok for me as long as not at the beach. I always burnt at the beach as a child because my step mother was not aware sunscreen existed:\ I now am careful with sun screen. If I miss a spot when at the beach, I burn.

alan
07-12-2016, 08:26 PM
not much freckles but very fair skin, blue eyes and hair that went from blond as an infant to mid brown as a adult. Pretty well everyone in my extended family on both sides is of the same pigmentation with only minor differences in shades. I go like a beetroot v easily. Also (my mother is the same) I find direct strong sunlight saps my energy really fast - literally in about 20 minutes so I prefer to sit in the shade if its warm and sunny.

I worked out I couldnt tan no matter how careful I was in one of the rare heatwaves about 30 years back and have stayed out the sun since. Mind you avoiding the sun is usually involuntary in Ireland!

alan
07-12-2016, 08:29 PM
If you go to the Med. you will notice the locals have more sense. They often cover up - tend to have clothes that are light ad cool but cover the body - even shirts are usually long sleeved. Its north Europeans on holiday who fry themselves on the sun and the locals shake their heads.

Cinnamon orange
07-12-2016, 08:43 PM
If you go to the Med. you will notice the locals have more sense. They often cover up - tend to have clothes that are light ad cool but cover the body - even shirts are usually long sleeved. Its north Europeans on holiday who fry themselves on the sun and the locals shake their heads.

I know, I saw when I was in Malta that lots of Brits get burnt and don't seem concerned about the sun, though many of the locals have the advantage of a somewhat darker skin tone. I tend to get burned these days on my ankles or other odd places I miss a spot of sun cream....:tsk::tsk:

fished
07-12-2016, 09:30 PM
If you go to the Med. you will notice the locals have more sense. They often cover up - tend to have clothes that are light ad cool but cover the body - even shirts are usually long sleeved. Its north Europeans on holiday who fry themselves on the sun and the locals shake their heads.

Usually, maybe so, but when I was in Rome in the height of the summer I met a few scantily-clad locals who were so red and leathery they looked like their skin was going to fall off. :P

Cinnamon orange
07-13-2016, 04:52 AM
If you can access 23and me, there is a new post on the old forums with the risk alleles. I have none luckily out of the first two sets and the last was not genotyped.

SwampThing27
07-13-2016, 05:00 AM
I don't have any of the risk alleles and am type 3 I'd say.