New study shows redheads 54 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer


Being ginger may actually have some benefits.

It’s not all bad news for red heads as new research shows that naturally red headed men are 54 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer as those with blond, brown or black hair.

Scientists behind the study, which is published in the British Journal of Cancer, suggest that the genes that dictate hair pigmentation may also influence tumor development.

Researchers from Finland’s National Institute for Health and Medicine, in Helsinki, and the US National Cancer Institute, conducted the study.

The study recruited 20,000 men aged 50 to 69 to a long-term health study in the late eighties.

Researchers found that 1,982 men went on to develop prostate cancer. Of this number, only one per cent of the men who developed cancer had red hair, compared to more than 40 per cent with light brown hair.

The findings of the study published were published online in the British Journal of Cancer found that men with naturally red hair were significantly less likely to develop prostate cancer than men with light brown hair.

Dr Iain Frame, director of research at Prostate Cancer UK said: “This research does indicate an association between having naturally red hair and a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer.

“But the strength and exact nature of this association is still unclear.

“We would not wish any man with red hair who has a concern about prostate cancer to hold back from seeking advice.”

Previous studies have found that having red hair affects health in other ways.

Scientists at Louisville University in Kentucky found ginger-haired people feel pain and the cold more than everybody else because their pain threshold may be partly dictated by the same gene that sets their hair colour – MC1R.

Due to their fair skin, red heads are also known to be more at risk of skin cancer.