A new study found links between skin cancer and a food traditionally thought of as healthy.
While many people consider fish to be a healthy meal option, a new study shows that it can actually increase the odds of skin cancer.
The study, published in the journal Cancer Causes & Control, examined data on nearly 500,000 adults with an average age of 62. Researchers highlighted details of participants’ fish consumption habits, indicating how they ate it and how often, and compared them with their frequency of melanoma cases over a period of 15 years.
A breakdown of results showed a link between fish intake and melanoma. People who consumed the most fish had 22% more cases of malignant melanoma than those who didn’t consume fish at all.
“Our findings have identified an association that requires further investigation,” said Eunyoung Cho, the study’s author. “We speculate that our findings could possibly be attributed to contaminants in fish, such as polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, arsenic, and mercury.”
Previous studies have found links between fish consumption and cancer, with researchers theorizing that fish exposes people to harmful elements. Still, researchers don’t fully understand the link and say that the study isn’t sufficient for choosing to quit fish.
The New York Times explains that while there are connections between different types of food and cancers, these tend to fade when the results are looked at as a whole. “Don’t get overwhelmed by this incomplete data that is yet to be proven,” said Dr. Sancy Leachman, director of the Melanoma Research Program at Oregon Health & Science University. “Hold on to the tried and true things: Eat well, sleep well, exercise well, all in the moderation. That gives you the most resilience you can possibly have against any kind of disease, including cancer.”
When it comes to melanoma, it’s very important to protect the skin from sun exposure and UV rays, having the best benefits if started from a young age. Experts recommend keeping an eye on new marks and spots.