High fat diet not linked to skin cancer

May 31, 2006 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News

High fat diet not linked to skin cancer

According to researchers from the Menzies Research Institute in Hobart, Australia and colleagues from Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, eating fatty foods does not appear to increase the risk of skin cancer.

The study published in the journal BMC Cancer contradicts previous research that showed a link between high fat intake and certain types of skin cancer. The results of this latest study suggest that high fat intake might even play a protective role in the development of non-melanoma skin cancer.

Researchers studied 652 people who had been diagnosed with skin melanoma between 1998 and 1999. They compared these patients with 471 individuals who did not have skin cancer.

Both patients and control subjects were asked to fill in a questionnaire about their fat intake, history of sun exposure and other factors of interest. The data was analyzed at that point, showing that the control subjects reported marginally higher levels of fat consumption. All subjects were subsequently followed for about 5 years to see if they developed any non-melanoma skin cancers.

Researchers found no evidence that high fat intake increases the risk of developing melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.

This contradicts previous studies that suggested that high fat intake may enhance the cancer-promoting effects of ultraviolet radiation - the main cause of skin cancer.

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