Research shows that higher fish consumption is associated with an increased risk of malignant melanoma in the United States

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A new study warns that excessive consumption of tuna and unroasted fish is associated with the risk of developing dangerous melanoma and state 0 melanoma.

“This study is important because it is very large and promising in terms of design, i.e., the incidence of fish has been estimated prior to the development of cancer,” said author Yongyong Cho, an associate professor of dermatology and epidemiology at Brown University.

“Although fish consumption has increased in the U.S. and Europe in recent decades, the results of previous studies examining the link between fishing and the risk of melanoma have been conflicting – our findings identify an association that requires further study.”

Researchers at Brown University found that a fish with an average daily intake of 42.8 grams (1.5 ounces) with an average daily intake of 3.2 grams (1.11 ounces) had a 22% increased risk of developing melanoma and a 28% increase in the risk of developing stage melanoma. identified. 0 cancer, also known as melanoma in situ, abnormal cells are noted only in the outer layer of the skin, in the release of the study.


According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the United States, with a lifetime risk of 2.6% for whites, 0.1% for blacks and 0.6% for Hispanics.

Fresh tuna sandwich with salad and tomatoes

“The portion size of cooked fish is approximately 140-170 grams (5-6 ounces); one can of tuna is 142 grams (5 ounces),” the statement said.

The study, conducted between 1995 and 1996 by the National Cancer Institute’s NIH-AARP Diet and Health Survey, found that 491,367 adults in the United States had an average age of 62.

The study analyzed portion size and how many participants had up to three types of fish: 1) fried fish, 2) non-fried fish, and 3) last year’s tuna.

Using cancer registers, the researchers tracked the development of new melanomas over an average of 15 years, but also identified other factors that could affect outcomes, such as sociodemographic factors, smoking history, family history of cancer, daily alcohol use, daily The intake of caffeine and calories and the average UV radiation level in the local area of ​​each participant, according to the release.

5,034 participants (1%) developed malignant melanoma, and 3,284 (0.7%) developed stage 0 melanoma on release.

Although the study did not show a significant association between eating fried fish and the risk of malignant melanoma or stage 0 melanoma, the researchers found that increased consumption of unroasted fish and tuna was associated with an increased risk of malignant melanoma and stage 0 melanoma.

Grilled salmon skewers at Fulton Fish Market

Grilled salmon skewers at Fulton Fish Market
(Fulton Fish Market)

However, the authors note that there are some limitations in the study, including some risk factors for melanoma, including the number of moles, hair color, or history of sun-related behaviors.


Another limitation is that the study participants may not have a complete representation of their lifelong diet, as their average daily fish consumption was calculated only at the beginning of the study.

However, because this was an observational study, he was unable to conclude a causal link between fish intake and the risk of melanoma.

“We suspect that our findings may be related to the contamination of fish with polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, arsenic and mercury,” Cho said.

According to Tiffany Keane, her 9-year-old son Cruz loves seafood, so he put a scorpion and lobster wrap in his birthday gold box.

According to Tiffany Keane, her 9-year-old son Cruz loves seafood, so he put a scorpion and lobster wrap in his birthday gold box.
(Tiffany Keane)

“Previous studies have shown that increased consumption of fish is associated with high levels of these pollutants in the body, and there is a link between these pollutants and a higher risk of skin cancer. Additional research is needed.


Mercury researchers do not recommend any changes in fish consumption, but believe that some components of fish, especially pollutants, need more research to determine the link between fish consumption and the risk of melanoma.

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