Redheads Rejoice: You Have Lower Risk of Developing Prostate Cancer

Redheads Rejoice: You Have Lower Risk of Developing Prostate Cancer

redheadProstate cancer is one of the most dangerous ailments that could develop in your body. A lot of the time, the cancer is something you don’t know you have until it is too late as the symptoms wouldn’t immediately make you realize that you have such a serious issue. It is a cancer that affects thousands of new men each year and a cancer that doesn’t seem to have many tell-tale signs that it could develop. If you have prostate cancer in your family, it is something that you should always be cautious of and even get examined at an earlier age than recommended.

Each year, there are more studies released that will lead to mind-blowing news on the matter. Among the latest findings is that those with red hair are less likely to develop prostate cancer. We’ll touch on this more later in the article, but let’s look at other important facts and stats about the cancer.


  • Outside of skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer for American men. In 2013, the American Cancer Society predicted that there would be nearly 240,000 new cases of prostate cancer and that close to 30,000 men would die because of the effects of the cancer.
  • In their lifetime, prostate cancer will affect one out of every six males.
  • While the cancer usually develops more in older men (65 and older), it can develop in men under the age of 40, although that is rare.
  • One out of every 36 males diagnosed with prostate cancer will die, making it the second leading cancer killer of American men trailing only lung cancer.
  • Between 2006 and 2010, those diagnosed with prostate cancer had a median age of 66.
  • For every 100,000 men, 152 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lifetime. For white males, that number is 144.9. Black males have the highest rate with 228.5 occurrences for every 100,000 men, while Asian/Pacific Islander (81.8), American Indian/Alaska Native (77.8) and Hispanics (125.8) also have high rates.

Mortality Rates

According to, there are more than 2.5 million people that have been diagnosed with prostate cancer that are still alive today. As we can see by looking at the rates, black males have a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, but what do the mortality rates look like? (Death rates shown per 100,000)

  • Black – 50.9
  • White – 21.2
  • American Indian/Alaska Native – 20.7
  • Hispanic – 19.2
  • Asian/Pacific Islander – 10.1 

News on Redheads

For many men, growing up with red hair is almost like a death sentence. The amount of jokes that are made about your hair and clear complexion would make even the toughest man feel weak. While natural redheads are often made fun of, those that naturally have the crimson colored hair have a lower chance of developing prostate cancer.

New research on the matter found that men with natural red hair saw a 54 percent less chance of developing prostate cancer than men with blonde, brown or black hair colors. While scientists don’t know exactly what the correlation is between hair color and the development of the cancer, the belief is that the results have to do with “unusual genes.”

The study first appeared in the British Journal of Cancer and it makes sense considering the amount of the male population in Britain, Scotland and Ireland that are red headed. Worldwide, the number of redheads makes up just about one to two percent of the population, while those numbers increase drastically in Scotland (13 percent), Ireland (10 percent) and Britain (six percent). The redheaded population is one of the smallest in the world of all hair colors, but in the United States, there is anywhere from six to 18 million people with red hair.

This isn’t the first study that has found the effect of red hair on the body. One study found that those with red hair were likely to feel more pain, possibly because of the same gene (MC1R) that led to their hair being red to begin with. When it comes to the need of novocaine and other local anesthesia, those with red hair may need as much as 20 percent more than average people. While redheads are less likely to develop prostate cancer, they face a 50 percent greater chance of being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Now to those of you are naturally ginger, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to get screened for prostate cancer. You should still get checked as often as your doctor suggests and when it is something that is in your family history, no matter what your race or hair color, getting your prostate checked could be the difference between you joining the mortality rate or joining the more than 2.5 million that are still alive today after being diagnosed.


National Cancer Institute


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