PEOPLE who have red hair and more than 20 large moles have a significantly increased chance of developing melanoma, according to new research.
A study by researchers from University of Queensland found people with both physical traits have a one in four chance of developing the disease in their lifetime.
The study also found people who do not have red hair but carry the variant gene for red hair face an increased melanoma risk if they have a high number of moles.
Associate Professor Rick Sturm said the study investigated the possible correlation between established risk factors and melanoma.
"Independently, having red hair and lots of large moles over 5mm in diameter are both known risk factors for developing melanoma," Dr Sturm said.
"People with red hair have a risk two to four times higher, while those with many large moles are five times more likely to develop melanoma than the general population."
"Put the two risk factors together and the risk of developing melanoma isn't simply added, it's multiplied."
He said people with a lot of moles should have regular skin checks and people may be unaware if they had the gene for red hair.
He said it was estimated that 25 per cent of people carried the gene.
Queenslanders have the highest risk in the world for melanoma, with one in 16 men and one in 24 women affected.
The study investigated 1200 patients, 50 per cent of whom had been diagnosed with melanoma.
To read the study, click here.