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Does Eating Fish Raise the Risk of Skin Cancer? A New Study Suggests It’s Possible

Woman shopping at a fish market
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If you’re someone who loves to eat lots of tuna and non-fried fish, it may be time to start reaching for another go-to meal. Researchers from Brown University have published a new study that found people who consumed lots of fish had a greater risk of malignant melanoma, but caution that more research is needed.

Eunyoung Cho, one of the study’s authors said in a statement that the study findings could possibly be linked 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,” he said.

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“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,” he added.

The study found that greater consumption of non-fried fish was linked to increased risks of malignant melanoma and stage 0 melanoma. For study participants who enjoyed eating non-fried fish and ate a median of 17.8 grams daily, they were found to have an 18 per cent higher risk of malignant melanoma and a 25 per cent higher risk of stage 0 melanoma when compared to participants who only consumed a median intake of 0.3 grams of non-fried fish each day. When it came to fried fish, the researchers did not identify significant links between consumption and the risk of malignant melanoma or stage 0 melanoma.

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The researchers acknowledged that more in-depth studies are needed, as theirs did not account for other risk factors for melanoma, including participants’ history of severe sunburns, moles, etc.


The authors of the study also shared that “at present, they do not recommend any changes to fish consumption.”

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