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Women who have been colouring their hair have a higher risk of developing a cancer
Women who have been colouring their hair for 24 years or more have a higher risk of developing a cancer called non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, US researchers report. They said on Friday that their study of 1300 women could help explain a mysterious rise in the cases of the cancer that affects the lymphatic system. Writing in the American Journal of Epidemiology, they said women who dyed their hair starting before 1980 were one-third more likely to develop non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and those who used the darkest dyes for more than 25 years were twice as likely to develop the cancer. "Women who used darker permanent hair colouring products for more than 25 years showed the highest increased risk," said Tongzhang Zheng, associate professor of epidemiology and environmental health at Yale School of Medicine. Cancer experts note that the absolute risk of developing lymphoma is very low, informs The AGE According to NY Times among those who used permanent rather than nonpermanent dyes, who chose dark colors - browns, reds and black - and who dyed their hair frequently (eight times a year or more) for at least 25 years, the risk doubled, said Dr. Tongzhang Zheng, a Yale epidemiologist who led the study. The results are published in the current issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. "For those who used light colors, there was no such increase in risk," Dr. Zheng noted. "This is the first study that's been able to look at the time period after 1980," said Dr. Shelia Hoar Zahm, deputy director of cancer epidemiology and genetics at the National Cancer Institute, who collaborated on the study. "It suggests that the later formulations are safer. If the risk is limited to those people who started use before 1980, it means we're really in better shape now." Another possibility, however, is that women have not had time to use the new products long enough for them to have any adverse effect, Dr. Zheng said. "It's very hard for us to say that now the products are safe," he said. Previous studies on the association between hair dye and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma have been mixed. A few have shown no association, but two, one done in 1988 and one in 1992, have suggested that there may be a link. If hair dye does play some role in lymphoma, Dr. Calle said, it would make sense that the darker colors, which have greater concentrations of ingredients, would have the strongest effect.
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