Be Careful With That Orange Juice
There are a lot of things you’ve probably been told to be careful about so as to avoid getting skin cancer. Don’t stay out too long, stay in the shade, wear sunscreen, wear a big floppy hat, don’t go crazy with the tanning booth, etc. Of all the things you’ve heard to help avoid skin cancer, it’s highly doubtful that one of them was ever “Stay away from those grapefruits.” But if someone had told you that, they may not be as crazy as you think. A new study suggest that there’s a surprisingly large correlation between consuming citrus fruits and melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Specifically, that frequent consumption of citrus fruits and juices lead to a 36% higher risk of eventually developing melanoma. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and utilized lead researchers from Brown University.
What Went On During This Study?
The study ultimately involved over 100,000 adult individuals (63,810 women and 41,622 men) through a span that lasted from 1984 to 2010. Of these people, 1,840 would go on to develop melanoma at some point. Once the researchers had kept tabs on them for up to 10 years, a pattern began to emerge regarding a correlation between citrus and melanoma, in particular grapefruit and orange juice. Those who had an overall form of citrus 1.6 times or more a day were 36% more likely to develop the cancer than those who consumed less than two per week. For a potential link between large consumption of citrus and melanoma, people in this study who had at least three full grapefruits a week had a 41% increased risk of skin cancer compared to those who didn’t eat grapefruit at all.
What Could Cause This?
The possible correlation between citrus fruits and melanoma could seem baffling at first. Senior author Dr. Abrar Qureshi attributes it to large amounts of photoactive compounds called furocoumarins that are prevalent in the pulp of the most common citrus fruits, oranges and grapefruits. Lead author Shaowei Wu also noted that while orange juice doesn’t have quite as many furocoumarins as whole oranges, the mass consumption of orange juice in given populations could also be a factor. They also preached caution, and not to assume that there’s a guarantee in the link between citrus and melanoma. Further investigation is still essential to finding out how serious this correlation is.