Two servings of fish per week “increases the risk of the deadliest skin cancer,” the study said

Regular consumption of fish increases the risk of skin cancer, according to research.

US experts examined consumption and the chances of developing malignant melanoma.

People who ate two servings of fish per week were more likely to be diagnosed with skin cancer


People who ate two servings of fish per week were more likely to be diagnosed with skin cancerPhoto credit: Getty

They found that those who ate 43g of fish daily – about two weekly servings – had a 22 percent higher risk of developing the disease than those who ate fish infrequently.

Scientists think contaminants in seafood could be behind the connection.

The NHS says a healthy diet should include two 140g servings of oily fish (salmon, sardines or trout) each week.

And other experts said there was no need to stop consuming it, despite the worrying results.

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The study, published in the journal Cancer Causes & Control, looked at the intake of 491,367 adults.

Lead researcher Eunyoung Cho from Brown University in the US said: “Our results have identified an association that requires further investigation.

“We speculate that our results could potentially be traced back to pollutants in fish such as polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, arsenic and mercury.

“Previous research has found that higher fish consumption is associated with higher levels of these pollutants in the body and has identified associations between these pollutants and a higher risk of skin cancer.”

In the UK, around 16,200 people are diagnosed with melanoma each year, making it the fifth most common type of cancer.

Commenting on the study, British experts said there was no reason for people to change their diet.

dr Michael Jones, from the Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: “The authors found that higher intakes of non-fried fish and tuna were associated with melanoma.

“These results were statistically significant and therefore coincidentally unlikely.

“No study should be viewed in isolation, and further investigation is needed to determine whether the results of this study are replicated.

“A general, healthy, and balanced diet should include fish, and the results of this study do not change that recommendation.”

Professor Stephen Duffy, Professor of Cancer Screening at Queen Mary University of London, added that the study’s findings were remarkable.

However, he said medical professionals raised more questions than they answered in the paper.

“The estimated impact of fish consumption on risk is small,” said Prof Duffy.

“A 1,200 percent increase in mean consumption is associated with only a 22 percent increase in melanoma risk.

“One could speculate that there could be some confusion with fishing, either as a recreational or professional activity, which would result in higher solar exposure.

“Also the fact that there is no increase in risk with fried fish, possibly even a decrease, requires explanation.”

He added that there are difficulties in assessing the risks associated with the diet.

This is because the association with nutritional problems can also be associated with other risk factors.

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Sarah Y. Kim

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