People with red hair could run a higher risk of being affected by basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer, new research has suggested.

The study conducted at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam also indicates that other groups who stand an increased risk include those diagnosed with this cancer at a very early age, the more affluent people and those with a cancerous lesion in their upper extremities.

The team of researchers came to this conclusion after analyzing data related to 11,000 adults aged 55 and above in Netherlands. It was found that nearly 5 percent of those reviewed had basal cell carcinomas and out of these patients, 361 reported single lesions.

However, those who developed a lesion after 75 years were the least likely to develop multiple lesions, say the authors of the study in a report published in the latest issue of the medical journal Archives of Dermatology.

The study, conducted by a team led by Dr. Ville Kiiski of the Erasmus Medical Center, found that those with a red head or those with a lesion located in the upper extremities were at a higher risk of developing cancer at a later stage.

“In contrast to developing a first lesion, high educational level was significantly positively associated with developing multiple lesions," says Dr. Kiiski while suggesting that her findings may be explained by the probability that people with higher levels of education have different lifestyles.

The heightened risk among such people could also be a result of their propensity to develop cancer in places other than the face and neck, or due to the fact that they tend to live longer and have more time to develop lesions, the article says.