The risk of skin cancer from eating fish is high

You’ve added fish to your diet to stay healthy, but now a new study gives some bad news: Fish lovers may be at a slightly higher risk of melanoma.

Researchers followed more than 490,000 elderly Americans and found that in 15 years, the disease was more than a quarter more common than the 20% that ate the most, the 20% that ate the least.

However, experts stressed that the findings show only a correlation and can not be blamed on seafood.

A nutritionist oncology was not involved in the study, he stressed the “big picture”.

In general, fish is a healthy source of protein, often rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, says Amy Bragagnini of the Mercy Health Lax Cancer Center in Grand Rapids, Micah.

Because of its benefits, including those related to heart and brain health, experts generally recommend that people eat two servings of fish at 4 ounces a week, said Bragagnini, a spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Fish can be a “great alternative” for people who want to limit red and processed meat – due to the high risk of some cancers, including colon and rectal cancers.

So why can fish be associated with melanoma, which is closely linked to risk factors such as illness, sunburn and family history?

This is unclear, said chief researcher Yunyon Cho. However, one hypothesis is that pollutants, such as mercury and PCBs, which are not fish, may be present at relatively high levels in some fish.

Previous studies have linked exposure to mercury to a higher risk of melanoma and other skin cancers, said Cho, a professor at Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University, Providence, Ri.

However, according to him, this is the theory of pollution. “This is the first study to show this association,” Cho said. “Before we make recommendations on diet, we need to do more research to replicate these findings.”

The findings, published June 9 in the journal Cances Causes and Control, are based on 491,000 Americans between the ages of 50 and 71 who observed for 15 years. Initially, they filled out questionnaires on diet, exercise, smoking, and alcohol consumption.

During the study, more than 5,000 participants were diagnosed with malignant melanoma, and almost 3,300 people developed melanoma in situ – where “pre-cancerous” melanoma cells are located in the upper layers of the skin but have not penetrated into the deeper layers.

The team found that the highest 20% of people who ate fish had a 22% higher risk of malignant melanoma and a 28% higher risk of in situ melanoma than the participants who fished at least. This top group typically dropped almost 43 grams of fish per day.

Researchers have found that people are at higher risk, depending on their lifestyle, race, education, and location.

However, the study did not provide information on people’s personal daily habits, the doctor said. William Dahut, senior fellow at the American Cancer Society. He noted that it is unknown whether fish lovers will have a “house on the beach” or spend time outdoors in other ways.

Dahut, who did not take part in the study, called it “interesting” and deserves a deeper dive.

“But I’m not telling people not to eat fish because of the risk of melanoma,” he said.

Dahut drew attention to another puzzling conclusion: People who ate more uncooked fish or canned tuna were at higher risk for malignant melanoma. On the other hand, eating more fried fish reduced the risk.

Both Cho and Bragagnini agreed that the discovery was difficult to explain. Perhaps the type of fish is important; According to him, future studies can see that certain varieties of fish have a higher risk of melanoma.

So far, Bragnini has suggested focusing on a general diet, including plenty of plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and fiber-rich grains. As for the fish, he suggested cooking or steaming it instead of deep-frying, which removes “good” fats.

When it comes to malignant melanoma, Dahut said, the main prevention tactic remains the same: limit the effects of ultraviolet light – from the sun or solarium – to check for changes in new or existing moles on the skin.

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