Scientists from Brown University found that eating fish is linked to a higher risk of skin cancer risk.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. The main types of skin cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Melanoma is much less common than the other types but much more likely to invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body. Most deaths from skin cancer are caused by melanoma.
Malignant Melanoma is a common skin cancer that arises from the melanin cells within the upper layer of the skin or from similar cells that may be found in moles.
Prior studies have examined the association between eating fish and skin cancer melanoma risk, but their findings have been inconsistent.
In addition, few studies have distinguished different types of fish cooking with the risk of melanoma.
In this study, researchers examined the links between intake of total fish and specific types of fish and the risk of melanoma.
They analyzed data from 491,367 people in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study.
The team found during 16 years of follow-up, there were 5,034 cases of malignant melanoma and 3,284 cases of melanoma in situ were identified.
The results showed that a higher total fish intake is linked to a higher risk of malignant melanoma and melanoma in situ.
Melanoma in situ is also called stage 0 melanoma. It means there are cancer cells in the top layer of the skin (the epidermis).
The team also found a link between tuna intake and non-fried fish intake, and the risk of malignant melanoma and melanoma in situ.
However, fried fish intake was linked to a lower risk of malignant melanoma, but not melanoma in situ.
Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that higher total fish intake, tuna intake, and non-fried fish intake were associated with higher risks of both malignant melanoma and melanoma in situ.
Future studies are needed to examine the biological mechanisms underlying these associations.
The study has several limitations.
Their analyses did not account for some risk factors for melanoma such as mole count, hair color, or history of severe sunburn and sun-related behaviors.
In addition, because the average daily fish intake was calculated at the beginning of the study, it may not be representative of participants’ lifetime diets.
The research is published in Cancer Causes & Control and was conducted by Eunyoung Cho et al.
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