Eating fish has been linked to an increase in melanoma risk – but that doesn’t mean we should take it off the menu

Source: The Conversation, June 2022

You wouldn’t expect fish and melanoma to be in the same headline – but they were last week. Researchers in the United States reported a higher risk of developing melanoma, a common type of potentially deadly skin cancer, in people who ate a relatively large amount of fish.

The researchers speculated their results may be due to levels of contaminants in some fish species – especially fatty fish. These contaminants include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) – synthetic chemical pollutants used as equipment coolants and lubricants and as paint additives. PCBs are commonly found in the environment and can cause cancer in humans.

But a detailed look at the research shows the findings don’t necessarily mean we should all be cutting fish from our diets for fear of skin cancer.