High Fish Consumption Has Been Linked to a Greater Likelihood of Developing Cancer

Invading Cancer Cells Illustration

Melanoma occurs in the cells that produce melanin and is the most deadly type of skin cancer.

A study finds that high fish consumption is associated with an increased risk of melanoma.

According to a large study of US adults published in the journal Cancer Causes & Control, eating more fish—including tuna and non-fried fish—seems to be linked to a higher risk of malignant melanoma.

Eunyoung Cho, the corresponding author said: “Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the USA and the risk of developing melanoma over a lifetime is one in 38 for white people, one in 1,000 for Black people, and one in 167 for Hispanic people. Although fish intake has increased in the USA and Europe in recent decades, the results of previous studies investigating associations between fish intake and melanoma risk have been inconsistent. Our findings have identified an association that requires further investigation.”

The incidence of malignant melanoma was 22% greater among individuals whose median daily consumption of fish was 42.8 grams as compared to those whose median daily intake was 3.2 grams, according to researchers from Brown University. Additionally, they discovered that individuals with a median daily consumption of 42.8 grams of fish had a 28% higher chance than those with a median daily intake of 3.2 grams of fish of having abnormal cells in just the outer layer of the skin, often known as stage 0 melanoma or melanoma in situ. An average serving of cooked fish weighs around 140 grams.

The scientists analyzed data from 491,367 people who were recruited from all across the USA to the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study between 1995 and 1996 to investigate the association between fish consumption and melanoma risk. Participants, who on average were 62 years old, answered questions on their consumption patterns and portion sizes of fried, non-fried, and tuna throughout the previous year.

Using information from cancer registries, the researchers determined the incidence of new melanomas that appeared during a median period of 15 years. They also took into consideration the individuals’ BMI, degree of physical activity, history of smoking, daily calorie and caffeine consumption, family history of cancer, and the average UV radiation exposure in their neighborhood. During the research period, 5,034 participants (1.0%) developed malignant melanoma and 3,284 (0.7%) developed stage 0 melanoma.

The researchers found that a higher intake of non-fried fish and tuna was associated with increased risks of malignant melanoma and stage 0 melanoma. Those whose median daily tuna intake was 14.2 grams had a 20% higher risk of malignant melanoma and a 17% higher risk of stage 0 melanoma, compared to those whose median daily tuna intake was 0.3 grams.

A median intake of 17.8 grams of non-fried fish per day was associated with an 18% higher risk of malignant melanoma and a 25% higher risk of stage 0 melanoma, compared to a median intake of 0.3 grams of non-fried fish per day. The researchers did not identify significant associations between consumption of fried fish and the risk of malignant melanoma or stage 0 melanoma.

Eunyoung Cho said: “We speculate that our findings could possibly be attributed to contaminants in fish, such as polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, arsenic, and mercury. Previous research has found that higher fish intake is associated with higher levels of these contaminants within the body and has identified associations between these contaminants and a higher risk of skin cancer. However, we note that our study did not investigate the concentrations of these contaminants in participants’ bodies and so further research is needed to confirm this relationship.”

The researchers caution that the observational nature of their study does not allow for conclusions about a causal relationship between fish intake and melanoma risk. They also did not account for some risk factors for melanoma, such as mole count, hair color, history of severe sunburn, and sun-related behaviors in their analyses. Additionally, as average daily fish intake was calculated at the beginning of the study, it may not be representative of participants’ lifetime diets.

The authors suggest that future research is needed to investigate the components of fish that could contribute to the observed association between fish intake and melanoma risk and any biological mechanisms underlying this. At present, they do not recommend any changes to fish consumption.

Reference: “Fish intake and risk of melanoma in the NIH-AARP diet and health study” by Yufei Li, Linda M. Liao, Rashmi Sinha, Tongzhang Zheng, Terrence M. Vance, Abrar A. Qureshi and Eunyoung Cho, 9 June 2022, Cancer Causes & Control.
DOI: 10.1007/s10552-022-01588-5

66 Comments on "High Fish Consumption Has Been Linked to a Greater Likelihood of Developing Cancer"

  1. Did they take into account that people who consume a lot of fish are likely fishermen? Lots more sunlight exposure for them.

  2. stephen schaffer | August 23, 2022 at 11:06 am | Reply

    I hope no tax dollars were wasted in the “study.” Median daily fish consumption of 1.5 ounces? Which means half of the people consumed less; ridiculous.
    Further, since the White cohort had a rate of mesothelioma almost 500 times higher than the black cohort we can assume BLM and wokie health professionals won’t be marching in the streets.

  3. …OR, people who eat lot’s of fish like to eat at outdoor restaurants, like to spend time fishing, like to hang out at the beach, like to have fish bbq’s, or are wealthier and therefore spend more time lounging at their swimming pool.

    PLUS the effect size between top and bottom fish consumers is SMALL, absolutely swamped by the alternative hypotheses.

    This is what receives research grants? These are researchers? Seriously???

    • I eat a lot of fish as my main meal. Even for breakfast. I live down the jersey shore but I never go to the beach. I work two jobs plus don’t want leathery wrinkled skin so I avoid the sun as much as possible. I don’t have a pool,i sure ain’t wealthy or hang out at barbecues lounging at friends poolside, I don’t eat at outdoor restaurants and basically don’t do anything you said fish eaters typically do yet i don’t have cancer

  4. Believe nothing of what you hear and 1/2 of what you see.

  5. Diyentomologist | August 24, 2022 at 6:06 am | Reply

    They really need to study this? Most people who consume a lot of fish live in coastal areas because it’s cheap. Therefore they usually spend more time in the sun. Common sense guys. Now it’s easy to understand why people are skeptical of “science” these days.

    • The literally say that the study is not conclusive. People who don’t believe in science are either Republicans or conspiracy theorist. You don’t need to be skeptical of science….it is skeptical of itself by nature

      • Not only is not conclusive, it’s nonsensical. It’s ridiculous to attempt to find any correlation from a one year snap shot of someone’s RECOLLECTED diet to anything 15yrs later.

  6. What about the people in Asia who eat more fish than anybody who also happened to be the most healthy

  7. If this study is true, Japan should have the highest rate of melanoma in the world!

  8. what the first guy said, no control for fisherman outdoors exposure. Associations are not causes; until headline is manipulated for click bait. story is straight.

  9. Your odds of developing cancer are high if you live to old age. If you eat cheeseburgers every day, however, you’re more likely to die of a heart attack at age 60.

  10. Another B.S story without any proof or scientific studies/testing. Asian countries are the biggest fish eaters in the world. Did you do any research on them? No you did not… You need to go back and do so some credible scientific testing before you release more fake studies.

  11. Sharon Caminiti | August 24, 2022 at 7:51 am | Reply

    It’s from the run off of pesticides that is saturated in our ground and food that is causing our fish to become sick. Just like our children, and everyone who doesn’t eat a clean diet. It’s happening all around us and nothing has been done even though our government knew testing is showing the damage they have caused us because they didn’t think it was important to do research on all the pesticide’s they have used for years but only recently used so much more.

  12. Don’t the Japanese people eat a lot of fish? Live long and prosper, Scotty…oh, and eat a lot of canned tuna (130 calories, 29g protein, and omega 3 fatty acids)!

    • The Japanese eat raw fish (sashimi, sushi) almost everyday and yet, they have a high aging population. They did not include Asians because the data will highly contradict their hypothesis. Big Pharma could be behind the study.

  13. This is false! If it were the case, places like China, Japan, and all of the island nations would be overrun with cancer because fish is their main protein source.

  14. Did they account for location? People who live near a coast have fresh seafood available and are therefore more likely to consume it. They are also more likely to have higher uv exposure year-round. By contrast, landlocked people (in climates with less yearly uv exposure) are less likely to bother as the only seafood available to them in most cases is frozen junk.

  15. As Bob Dylan said in Sweetheart Like You, They could make them tires squeal! Who knows, maybe they’ll get their name in lights! Such a non-conclusive “study.” This kind of study would make Wuhan and Fauci proud.

  16. True, fishermen likely have more sun exposure than the average person…..

  17. Following the DOI link… the study is interesting but I find the inverse relationship between fried fish consumption and malignant melanoma a bit “fishy” (pun intended).

    • Exactly! I thought the same. Aren’t there many studies claiming that fryed food increases all kinds of cancer? If so, wouldn’t fried fish be worse then non fried? It says that non fried fish causes cancer but not the fried fish.

  18. How can an entire article be written about the possible dangers of fish consumption without once mentioning farmed fish!!?? 🤔 Pretty fishy.

  19. Did they control for farm raised vs. wild caught fish? Farmed raised fish contain several antibiotics and farm raised salmon are treated with coloring chemicals.

  20. Andrew Johnstone, RPh/MD | August 24, 2022 at 11:07 am | Reply

    The assumption that melanoma is sun-related is ALSO naive; age of onset doesn’t support that (but does support nasal and squamous association with sun). Nor does prevalent body site have much correlation with sun; mid-back way higher than shoulders, breasts in both genders higher than necklace area, and vulva in women higher than abdomen or thighs.

  21. Andrew Johnstone, RPh/MD | August 24, 2022 at 11:08 am | Reply

    ‘basal’ not ‘nasal’

  22. Where do they get this crap? We have been eating fish as a species for thousands and thousands of years. No cancer. But now it’s fish? C’mon. These studies and subsequent ‘news’ articles are for the people with low IQ.

  23. People who eat a lot of fish are smarter than the ones that don’t eat a lot of fish.Check it out ?

  24. I have understood that there are healthy benefits to eating oily fish containing omega 3.
    An Esential ingredient for health.
    So this evidence sounds contradictory, so you takes your choice.

  25. Gordon L Banks | August 24, 2022 at 1:16 pm | Reply

    This makes perfect sense to me. I rarely eat fish and I don’t have cancer. Study complete.

  26. Breaking news science says eating anything consumable on planet earth will inevitably contribute to your death.

  27. So eating fried fish is better then eating non fried fish?

  28. What a ridiculous “study.” How in the world would you deduce any correlation to an outcome 15yrs later from a one year snap shot of someone’s RECOLLECTED diet. Total nonsense and incredible that these are the “intellectuals” conducting the studies for us.

  29. I’m wondering if they also took him to account if the fish was grilled on a charcoal or gas barbecue? Because it says it wasn’t fried, so was how it was cooked taken into consideration? Also I guess this study included raw fish like poke? Or sushi?

  30. Not at all scientific.
    Correlation does not equate to

  31. So basically all Koreans, especially those in Busan and all Japanese people have high cancer rates? Seafood consumption in those culinary scenes eclipses that of seafood consumption in the west

  32. How much did our government pay this guy to say this. Just like ever product now either being banned or held from us do to our idiot government and our idiot president. Just like global warming is a myth for the past 20 years that’s why billionaires by mansions on the beach. It’s a ploy to keep the middle class and lower class away from buying. Keeping the rich fat fcks happy with us out of the way. Everything you hear now a days is a lie and a dictatorship in our nation thanks to our government, our nation has never been free our nation was built around tyranny and taxing the hell out of its people. Creating a clear message that our own US presidents and the capital never gave a sht about making a better world, but who can be the most powerful in the world. And yet we as a nation of billions won’t stand up against this because we are chicken sht.

  33. It’s most likely from all of that farm raised tilapia.

  34. The biggest BS article I have seen in a while. Complete garbage study to say the least.
    My advice on fish is to eat wild not the farm raised crud being pushed as healthy. It in fact is full of bad stuff.

  35. No recommendations, what a waste of everyone’s time. Start with that next time

  36. Im’ getting my tuna steaks out of the freezer to grill on my Weber! I add hickory chunks for the enticing flavor!!! Yummers!!;

  37. Heart disease is the biggest threat to health worldwide! Countries who eat alot of fish like japan and iceland have some of the highest life expectancies as does sardinia, crete and okinawa, islands where people also eat lots of seafood. We have much to learn about diets, dont we!?

  38. Total agenda lie. They just want Western nations to eat dirt and soy so the 3.2 billion India/China/Oceania can still eat. More fear to throw at you, they don’t care about your health. Do they really think we are totally stupid? Yes, they do.

  39. Liberals are crazy, spreading fake news , over and over

  40. The ocean is a sponge of terrestrial life. Meaning everything in it absorbs all the chemicals that wash into it. Epipelagic fish are the top predators in the ocean and they therefore consume what has been building up in the lower food chain. This ain’t astrophysics, it’s the food web. And pollutants build up in the chain the higher up you go. Stop putting crap into the environment and then wondering why we’re all *ucking dying and becoming sterile!

  41. This study,inconclusive or otherwise, is a bunch of bologna.

  42. It's Not The Fish | August 27, 2022 at 1:06 pm | Reply

    This article and study is trash. It’s not the fish that’s causing cancer. Change the title. Look at the countries that eat fish more than anyone and have been doing so for generations. They show lower to no cancer. Fish has extremely healthy benefits. Instead, let’s look at what other factors might be contributing to an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. Look at contamination in our food. Also, I’m pretty sure mercury in tuna is old news. That’s why my family has always opted for wild salmon, it’s low in mercury. Someone tell these researchers and writers to do better.

  43. If this were remotely accurate you would see massive cancer clusters in Scandinavian and Asian countries!
    Do we see that?

  44. “The researchers caution that the observational nature of their study does not allow for conclusions about a causal relationship between fish intake and melanoma risk.”.

    In other words, this whole article is bologna.

  45. Kiumars Lalezarzadeh | August 28, 2022 at 8:57 pm | Reply

    In a study a few years ago the symmetrical scales, or skin, of fish was purported to be causally related to melanoma. The symmetry may be related to malignancy, the symmetry could, as in autoimmunity, replicate – reproduce – spread some other pathology such as herpes / shingles. As a matter fact eating too much fish or chicken could cause herpes or shingles. A histological slice could show the blisters underneath the skin without any breakout showing. Perhaps the sample ate the skin, or licked the skin, or handled the skin, while as avid daily fish eaters they had hidden herpes underneath that rhen replicated and mutated as in malignancy into melanoma.

  46. Everything causes cancer bc our fda is politically driven. The pharmaceuticals make it worth their while to create bad standards

  47. First,the title of the news is just a reflection of a stupidity of the writer. Second, talking about the research!what kind of fish you were referring to. Did the folks in sample cohort ate a few specifics types of fish or did the take in general all types of fish very often. If the later was true, then, this research project was just a waste of tax payers money. Also,are those researcher still working on their job. Pls, simply fire them immediately and save the humanity before coming more dangerous outcome from them. What a insane, how did u develop that kind of hypothesis..what was your theoretical motivation. Man…just stop doing research and join Tucker Carlson at Fox.

  48. John (how about this) | August 30, 2022 at 8:26 pm | Reply

    Open link and see what raw fish can also cause to whoever

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