New study hints at surprising link between fish consumption and skin cancer

Eating fish has long been considered a healthy thing to do, but a new study is causing people to reconsider this long-held belief. Research has found that eating more fish may be linked to higher risks of skin cancer, according to a press release released Thursday.

An association that requires further investigation

“Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the United States, and the lifetime risk of developing melanoma is one in 38 for whites, one in 1,000 for blacks, and one in out of 167 for Hispanics.1 Although fish consumption has increased in the United States and Europe in recent decades, the results of previous studies investigating associations between fish consumption and melanoma risk have been Our results have identified an association that requires further investigation,” Eunyoung Cho, the corresponding author of the study, said in the statement.

Researchers from Brown University and the National Cancer Institute tracked the eating habits of 491,367 Americans aged 50 to 71 over 15 years to assess how many of them developed melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer. in response to high fish consumption. The results indicated that participants who ate about two servings of fish per week, on average, had a 22% higher risk of developing melanoma and a 28% higher risk of developing abnormal skin cells that could be a precursor to the disease. cancer than people who ate less of it. more than half a portion.

Contaminants in fish

“We speculate that our findings could possibly be attributed to contaminants in fish, such as polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, arsenic and mercury. Previous research has shown that higher fish consumption is associated with higher levels of these contaminants in the body and identified associations between these contaminants and a higher risk of skin cancer.However, we note that our study did not investigate the levels of these contaminants in the participants’ bodies , and therefore further research is needed to confirm this relationship,” Cho added.

The researchers warn that they did not take into account certain risk factors for melanoma, such as number of moles, hair color, history of severe sunburn and sun-related behaviors in their study . Additionally, the participants’ daily fish consumption was calculated at the start of the research and may have evolved to change over the 15 years that the subjects were followed and assessed.

All of these could lead to inaccurate or erroneous results. The researchers therefore noted that they do not recommend any change to fish consumption for the time being and that the sun remains the main cause of skin cancer. Still, the work is a first step in understanding the link between fish consumption and skin cancer, a study that could prove indisputable.

The results of the study have been published in the journal Causes and control of cancer.

Summary:
Previous epidemiological studies evaluating the association between fish consumption and melanoma risk have been few and inconsistent. Few studies distinguished different types of fish consumption at risk of melanoma. We examined associations between total fish consumption and specific types of fish and melanoma risk in 491,367 participants in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. We used multivariate adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate hazard ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). During 6,611,941 person-years of follow-up with a median of 15.5 years, 5,034 cases of malignant melanoma and 3,284 cases of melanoma in situ were identified. There was a positive association between higher total fish consumption and risk of malignant melanoma (HR=1.22, 95% CI=1.11-1.34 for upper and lower quintiles, ptrend=0.001) and melanoma in situ (HR=1.28, CI=1.13–1.44 for upper and lower quintiles, ptrend=0.002). Positive associations were consistent for several demographic and lifestyle factors. There were also positive associations between tuna consumption and unfried fish consumption, and the risk of malignant melanoma and melanoma in situ. However, fried fish consumption was inversely associated with the risk of malignant melanoma, but not melanoma in situ. We found that higher total consumption of fish, tuna, and unfried fish was positively associated with the risk of malignant melanoma and melanoma in situ. Future studies are needed to investigate the potential biological mechanisms underlying these associations.


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