According to a recent study, there may be a link between citrus consumption and a heightened risk of developing a deadly form of skin cancer later in life.
Nevertheless, the link does not represent a cause-and-effect relationship, so more research needs to be done to confirm the findings. The study was published this week in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Dr. Abrar Qureshi, lead author of the study and researcher at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, disclosed that his study was just “observational.” Nevertheless it may be a valuable asset in fighting off the deadliest form of skin cancer called melanoma.
Until now, melanoma prevention involves sunscreen protection and skin cancer screening. But removing from diet certain high-risk foods may also help, the research suggests.
The study authors sifted through data on more than 63,000 female nurses involved in a national health survey dubbed the Nurses’ Health Study and more than 41,000 male participants in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Both studies ran for almost two decades.
During that time, researchers asked participants to answer simple questions on their dietary habits and report any changes in their health condition such as a melanoma diagnosis.
The team interviewed study participants to learn how often they consumed oranges and orange juice, grapefruit and grapefruit juice, but lemon and lime consumption were not included in the surveys.
After nearly two decades, study authors noted that there were 1,840 new cases of melanoma. The study showed that people who had reported consuming four to five portions of citrus fruits per week were 10 percent more likely to develop the life-threatening disease than those who ate citrus one to two times a week or didn’t eat it at all.
But the risk of skin cancer jumped to 36 percent in people who had reported eating citruses 1.5 times per day. Additionally, researchers found the strongest link between citrus consumption and melanoma in grapefruit.
Even after adjusting the study’s results for sun exposure and location the link still remained strong. Researchers believe that citruses are dangerous in summertime because they contain high amounts of furocoumarins, which are photoactive compounds that can make skin more sensitive to sun exposure.
Still, researchers suggested people should not avoid entirely citrus fruits, but they should be extra cautious when going outside in hot summer days. The team recommends sunscreen, large brimmed hats and sun-protective clothing.
In the U.S. alone, melanoma affects 30 out of 100,000 people every year.
Image Source: Auguluserviss.lv
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