Two servings of fish a week linked to skin cancer, study finds

The Brown University study pointed to fish laden with bio-contaminants like mercury as a likely cause.

New evidence has shown that eating fish twice a week could increase the risk of developing a life-threatening form of skin cancer.

According to recent research by a team from Brown University, a typical daily fish consumption of 42.8g (equivalent to approximately 300g per week) may increase the risk of malignant melanoma. by 22%.

The study was published in the journal Cancer causes and control.

Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the United States. It is highly invasive and has the highest risk of fatal outcome. According American Cancer Societythe lifetime risk of developing it is one in 38 for whites, one in 1,000 for blacks, and one in 167 for Hispanics.

The study

The review team used data from 491,367 older Americans, ages 50 to 71, over 15 years of follow-up to determine if there was a link between cancer risk and fish consumption.

The NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study recorded the frequency and portion sizes of fried fish, tuna, and unfried fish and how often they developed cancer.

The study took into account factors such as smoking, body mass index, physical activity, daily alcohol, caffeine and calorie consumption as well as family history of cancer.

It also charted the average levels of ultraviolet radiation in each participant’s area since the risk of developing melanoma doubles if they have had more than five sunburns.

In the analysis, the team found that people who ate around two servings of fish a week, on average, had a 22% higher risk of developing melanoma and a 28% higher risk of developing abnormal skin cells. – stage 0 melanoma – than people who ate less than half a serving.

Stage 0 melanoma, also called in situ, occurs when cancer cells are limited to the outermost layer of the skin and have not invaded the second layer.

The study also looked at the differences between the three categories of fish products consumed by people.

More importantly, those who ate about 3/4 of a serving of tuna per week had a 20% higher risk of melanoma and a 17% risk of stage 0 melanoma compared to people who ate almost none. .

Unfried fish also significantly increased the risk of developing both forms of melanoma. The study group with an average consumption of 17.8 grams (0.62 ounces) showed an 18% higher likelihood of skin cancer and a 25% higher risk of stage 0 malignancy.

Overall, during the study period, 5,034 people developed malignant melanoma and 3,284 developed stage 0 melanoma.

Fish laden with toxins

According to Eunyoung Cho, co-author of the study and associate professor of dermatology and epidemiology at Brown University, if the fish itself is unlikely to be linked to cancer risk, it is the carcinogens of of human origin present in fish that present the highest risk.

“Mercury consumption in the United States comes primarily from fish,” Cho said in a statement.

“We speculate that our findings could possibly be attributed to contaminants in fish, such as polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, arsenic and mercury.”

Previous research has linked high levels of mercury in the human body to a higher risk of skin cancer, and eating fish increases the load of these toxins in the body.

“So if mercury is linked to skin cancer, it stands to reason that fish consumption may also be linked,” Cho added.

However, Cho noted that the study did not investigate the levels of mercury and other contaminants in the participants’ bodies, so more research is needed to confirm this relationship.

Heavy metal toxicity

Heavy metals like mercury and arsenic have been shown to cause several other problems in the body besides cancer. Several studies have shown that mercury toxicity can lead to lung damage and other serious complications such as abdominal colic, bloody diarrhea and kidney failure.

Meanwhile, arsenic has been shown to cause genomic instability, cognitive dysfunction, and neurological issues such as stinging sensations in the hands and legs.

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