Increased fish consumption may be associated with skin cancer risk, study finds

A study led by the US-based Brown University School of Public Health has revealed increasing overall fish consumption is associated with a higher risk of melanoma development – an aggressive form of skin cancer. However, the European Food Information Council (EUFIC) addresses the study’s limitations, stating that the investigation is observational and cannot prove a direct cause and effect.

The current study examined data from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study to better understand the connection between nutrition and health. The researchers looked at the associations between intake of total fish and specific types of fish and the risk of melanoma among 491,367 participants in this study.

The analysis revealed that a greater intake of total fish, tuna and non-fried fish was positively correlated with the risk of both malignant and in situ melanoma – when the cancer cells are in the epidermis.

“The study doesn’t impact nutritional guidelines for fish intake,” Laura Bosman, content production at EUFIC, tells NutritionInsight.

“The authors hypothesize that contaminants in fish (such as mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins and arsenic) may explain their results, yet the amounts of these contaminants in the participants’ bodies were not assessed, and therefore this hypothesis cannot be validated by the data.”

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