Diet may protect against melanoma

A diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fats could help protect against skin cancer, research suggests.

Dr Niva Shapira said the Greek-style Mediterranean diet could play a role in contributing to that country’s low rates of melanoma compared to Europe and other sunny countries such as Australia.

“It’s more than their olive skin,” said Dr Shapira, a researcher from Tel Aviv who is presenting her findings this week at the International Congress of Dietetics in Sydney.

“We think the difference in skin cancer rates may be partially due to the different eating habits in these countries,” she said.

Dr Shapira studied two groups of women exposed to the sun for four to six hours a day over two weeks, with one group drinking an antioxidant-enriched beverage and the other drinking water or soft drinks.

Levels of malondialdehyde, an indicator of oxidative stress in the body linked to cancer risk, increased by about 55 per cent in those drinking water but dropped by 16 per cent in the women who had the fortified beverage.

Dr Shapira conducted further studies that found tomato paste, a Greek staple containing antioxidants such as lycopene, reduced and delayed UV-induced skin redness.

Sky News

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17 responses to “Diet may protect against melanoma

  1. The money spent on “curing” cancer would have been much better spent on preventing it. And a key way to preventing it is – you guessed it – eating the right kind of foods. Not the complete answer, no,.but as critical as putting the right fuel in my Focker.Yet doctors have continued to deny it. Well, not all doctors, admittedly. I believe Hippocrates had some knowledge of the subject. And even a few doctors of our own times Some are even are game enough to call it nutritional medicine, like Australia’s Dr Ian Brighthope.

    • A quack running a magical food scam (selling ‘supplements’ rather than sound nutrition) is not the best argument to be made there Bigglesworth. Better go see cousin Algy for a few of the facts, ol’ chap.

      • You are right. Algy knows quite a lot about the right foods and eats good food when he can get it, and when he or I have a hole in our fuel tank we know strong fuel additive materials that can put in to fix it up fix it up and also without corroding it further. Simply putting more fuel in, even good fuel, won’t do it. From the food point of view, doctors like Brighthope and Kalokerinos (yes – once “Australian Greek of the Year”) know something about it and when more of something is genuinely required. These and other similar mecicos are not quacks. They save lives and prevent suffering.

  2. I was taught that melanoma occurred mostly in people who had a severe sunburn as an infant. If that’s true, low rates of melanoma in Greece could be due to how infants are managed in the sun in the Greek culture.

    What you eat and melanoma would then simply be superstition. And aboriginal medicine men who push it just primitives in suits.

  3. Further to Editor (and apologies for my wobbly typing gun), I will give the example of some of our poor chaps who returned from those awful camps with beri beri. Giving the normal RDA vit B a day was nowewhere near enough to fix the problem – they needed megadoses. And when they recovered the dose was dropped right back. They got sick again. They needed the high doses for a lot longer than it seemed would be required due to the chronicity of their deficiency. That may be an extreme example, but many civilian chaps have chronic diseases and deficiencies also.

  4. “Data from the California Cancer Registry (United States) among 879 Hispanic, 126 Asian, and 85 Black men and women diagnosed with melanoma in 1988-93 were analyzed and compared with data for 17,765 non-Hispanic White cases. Average, annual, age-adjusted incidence rates per 100,000 population were 17.2 for men (M) and 11.3 for women (W) for non-Hispanic Whites; 2.8 (M), 3.0 (W) for Hispanics; 0.9 (M), 0.8 (W) for Asians; and 1.0 (M), 0.7 (W) for non-Hispanic Blacks.”

    Susceptibility to melanoma is clearly related to skin color. Greeks, in southern Europe, are darker skinned than other whites. Suggesting Greeks diet gives them resistance to melanoma, and ignoring
    their skin color, is JUNK SCIENCE.

    ‘“It’s more than their olive skin,” said Dr Shapira, a researcher from Tel Aviv who is presenting her findings this week at the International Congress of Dietetics in Sydney.’

    Since skin color fully explains it, why go further? Oh, grant money.

    • Well, no, that may “explain” it Gamecock, but it does not solve the problem. When I was a young lad on holiday at Bondi Beach Sydney, Australia, in the 1950’s (or thereabouts), huge numbers of white-skinned Aussies were turning themselves into bronzed sun-tanned-burnt Aussies, lying in the full sun for days, weeks, months at a time. The only person with any sort of cancer that I knew about was an uncle of the squadron leader who was a chain-pipe-smoker. No melanomas in sight. Also, many melanomas appear on skin that has NOT been exposed to the sun. One of my dear old relatives (a lady) was never in the sun, and is now dying from melanoma (not my job to interfere in family processes but wish I could).

      • You tell great stories, Biggles.

        But Occam’s razor applies.

      • I’m not challenging your stories. I have no doubt they are true. But they are simply anecdotal, not comprising any sort of proof.

      • They are simply not relevant, either. Heavy tanning is linked with basal cell and scaumous cell carcinoma, not melanoma.

        “One of my dear old relatives (a lady) was never in the sun, and is now dying from melanoma”

        You simply have no way of knowing if she was sunburned as an infant, nor where she might have gotten sun.

      • Tell a dermatologist that skin cancer is not associated with sun damage, and while you have them smiling, tell them that there are things people could eat to prevent melanoma. That should have them in stitches.

  5. Also Gamecock, my anecdotal and real experiences with “dermatologists” is that they haven’t got a clue about fixing skin diseases. I have fixed many an aviator that they failed miserably.

  6. One more point Gamecock. Remember, it was only anecdotal that Chinese sailors prevented scurvy by eating sprouted mung beans. But Captain James Cook took good notice of that, and subsequently settled Australia.

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