Research on mice shows that the risk of getting skin cancer is associated with gender.

Tatiana Oberyszyn, PhD, of the Ohio State University Medical Center studied mice with skin almost identical to that of humans. She and her colleagues  found that female skin is more likely to get sunburned, whereas male skin is more likely to develop tumors.

“We found that males actually got tumors about 2 weeks earlier than the females, and the tumors they did get were larger, and there were more of them,” says Oberyszyn.

She says that for some reason, male skin does not retain as many antioxidants, which are important in stopping tumors from forming.

“What it suggests is that when we’re treating male and female skin, in terms of protection against nonmelanoma skin cancers, we actually may need to treat them differently,” Oberyszyn says.

For example, she notes, there may be female sunscreens with more anti- inflammatory ingredients that heal damage from the sun and male versions with more antioxidants that protect against tumors.

Until researchers can figure out the difference, physicians urge all individuals to cover up and limit their exposure to the sun.

For more on skin cancer, see the May issue of PSP.

[www.thepittsburghchannel.com, April 4, 2007]