When you hear the word melanoma, you probably think of skin cancer. But technically, it is cancer of melanocyte cells, which means it can occur anywhere the body has pigment. One of those places is the eye’s iris.
Canadian researchers wanted to determine if certain skin features can help determine a higher risk of uveal (iris) melanoma. As suspected, fair and easily-sunburned skin, common and atypical moles, and freckles do, in fact, reflect a greater likelihood of developing uveal melanoma.
Because the risk of uveal melanoma decreases as pigment increases, older caucasians with light eyes whose skin fit the aforementioned characteristics are more likely than others to become one of the approximately 2000 people who are diagnosed with this kind of cancer in the U.S. every year.
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