A new study hints that genetics could play a role in the development of melanoma even if people don't get a lot of sunburns.
U.S. experts say people shouldn't take this new as an excuse to bake themselves in the sun, which is considered a major cause of often-deadly skin cancer.
Neil Box, an assistant professor with the department of dermatology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus says, "There should be no change to the current recommendations to adopt sun-safe behaviors for melanoma prevention.
The new study, which took place in Austria, was led by Dr. Judith Wendt from the Medical University of Vienna. Her team examined variations in the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene, which affects skin pigmentation. Researchers have previously linked the gene to melanoma, with red-haired people with the highest risk.
The investigators found that 47 percent of those with melanoma reported more than 12 sunburns in their lives, compared to 31 percent of the others showing that sun exposure is key to the disease.
However, the team also found that 41 percent of the melanoma patients had two or more variants of the gene, compared to just 29 percent of the others.
Box tells us, "The general public should still make every effort at sun safety, particularly those...with red hair color.
I will have to agree with the statement of the professor. Even though this gene affects a small amount of individuals, we all still need to make an effort to reduce our own personal risk overly exposing ourselves to the sun.