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Blood Groups and their association with Skin Cancer

What is your blood group? Your blood group may decide the skin cancer risk you may be prone to!

Cancer! Though no more an incurable disease, the mere reference to this word is reason enough to draw attention and vouch concern in people. Did you know that your blood group may determine the risk levels of skin cancer that you are prone to? Read on to know more.

Skin cancer being one of the most common of all cancer types refers to the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. These cancer cells are even capable of spreading from the skin into other tissues and organs if neglected. There are three types of skin cancer: Melanoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), and Basal cell carcinoma (BCC), which is the most common type of skin cancer. Melanoma is found to be rare, but is significantly life-threatening. Risk factors of skin cancer include ultraviolet light exposure, age, genetic susceptibility, and constitutional factors, for instance hair color, number of moles, skin color, and skin reaction to sun exposures. Although there are many risk factors that are associated with the growth of skin cancer, finding an association between the blood type and its influence on level of skin cancer risks is a rarity. A recent study in this field does just that!

The ABO blood group system consists of blood groups: A, B, AB and O. ABO blood group genes are distributed distinctively among the world’s population. The analysis of blood group and their association with the risks involved in skin cancers provides useful insight on the risk factors. You may either belong to the O Blood Group category or the Non-O blood Group category (A, B, AB). In a study examining the possible associations between ABO blood group and the risk of various types of skin cancer, non-O group was associated with decreased risk for some types of skin cancer. In two largely distinct age groups, non-O blood group was significantly associated with a decreased risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. Participants with non-O blood group had a 14% decreased risk of developing SCC and a 4% decreased risk of developing BCC compared to participants with blood group O. The decreased risk of melanoma for non-O blood group was not statistically significant though.

To date, this is the first prospective study conducted on a study population belonging to two distinct age groups to investigate the relationship between ABO blood group and the risk of skin cancers. However, further studies are needed to confirm these associations and to determine mechanisms through which ABO blood type or closely linked genetic variants may influence skin cancer risk.

Reference: ABO Blood Group and Incidence of Skin Cancer – A Study by Jing Xie, Abrar A. Qureshi, Yunhui Li, and Jiali Han conducted at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, United States of America

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Author: Ann M
verified by: Dr.Bimal Rajalingam
Conflict of Interest: None
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Disclaimer: This article is written by a non-medical professional.

Monday, January 17, 2011
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