Scientists from the University of Paris-Saclay found that eating the Mediterranean diet may help lower 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.
Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is usually not life-threatening, though it can be aggressive.
Untreated, squamous cell carcinoma of the skin can grow large or spread to other parts of your body, causing serious complications.
Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that most often develops on areas of skin exposed to the sun, such as the face.
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.
The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that’s based on the traditional cuisines of Greece, Italy, and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea.
Plant-based foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices, are the foundation of the diet.
The Mediterranean diet has been found to be linked to lower cancer risk.
However, previous studies mainly explored major single food components of the Mediterranean diet. And only a previous study has examined adherence to the diet in relation to skin cancer melanoma risk.
In the study, researchers aimed to explore the links between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and the risk of skin cancer, including melanomas, basal cell carcinomas (BCCs), and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs).
They used data from 98,995 French women aged 40-65 years. Dietary data were collected via a validated food questionnaire in 1993.
These people’s adherence to the Mediterranean diet was assessed using a dietary score that incorporates intakes of fruit, vegetables, legumes, cereal products, olive oil, fish, dairy products, meat products, and alcohol.
The team found from 1993 to 2008, a total of 2003 skin cancer cases were ascertained among 67,332 women, including 404 melanomas, 1367 basal cell carcinomas, and 232 squamous cell carcinomas.
Adherence to the MD was linked to a lower risk of skin cancer. Mediterranean diet score was also linked to lower risks of melanoma and basal cell carcinomas but not squamous cell carcinomas.
Based on these findings, the team concluded that adherence to the Mediterranean diet is linked to a lower skin cancer risk in women, particularly melanoma and basal cell carcinomas.
Future research must confirm these findings, which may have essential implications for skin cancer prevention.
The research was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and was conducted by Yahya Mahamat-Saleh et al.
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