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Gender May Be Reason Why More Men Get Skin Cancer

Posted: April 2, 2007

Ohio State University researchers have found that a naturally occurring amount of antioxidants in females may be the reason that males are three times more likely to get skin cancer.

The university scientists, led by assistant professor Dr. Tatiana Oberyszyn, investigated the incidence of squamous cell cancer -- a common type of skin cancer in humans -- in a controlled experiment on laboratory mice.

According to an Ohio State University news release, the researchers exposed the animals to UVB, a type of ultraviolet light that causes the most damage to the skin. They found that the naturally occurring amount of antioxidants produced by the female mice not only protected them three times as much from squamous malignancy, but also may have caused tumors that developed in females to be smaller than those in the male mice.

"It's given us clear evidence of a biological basis for the gender bias in developing squamous cell carcinoma," Oberyszyn is quoted as saying in the news release.

The study appears in the April 1 issue of the journal Cancer Research.