HealthDay News — Use of permanent hair dye is not associated with the risk for most cancers or cancer mortality, according to a study published online Sept. 2 in The BMJ.

Yin Zhang, Ph.D., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined the associations between personal use of permanent hair dyes and cancer risk and mortality among 117,200 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study.

The researchers found that compared with nonusers, ever users of permanent hair dyes had no significant increases in risk for solid cancers (hazard ratio, 0.98; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.96 to 1.01) or hematopoietic cancers overall (hazard ratio, 1.00; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.91 to 1.10). Ever users also did not have an increased risk for most specific cancers or cancer-related deaths (hazard ratio, 0.96; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.91 to 1.02). Ever users had a slightly increased risk for basal cell carcinoma (hazard ratio, 1.05; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.02 to 1.08). There was a positive association noted for cumulative dose with the risk for estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer, progesterone receptor-negative breast cancer, hormone receptor-negative breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.

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“This prospective cohort study among mostly white U.S. women offers some reassurance against concerns that personal use of permanent hair dyes might be associated with increased cancer risk or mortality,” the authors write.

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