The Journal Of Clinical Oncology published a study about the groups of people who have a higher risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and revealed a shocking discovery. One of our favorite drinks, an indispensable breakfast staple can increase our risk of melanoma.
Grapefruit and orange juices are our drink of choice in the morning. Many of us can’t imagine their day without them. And we love them so much because they are also healthy and beneficial for our overall health, aside from being refreshing and energizing. But you’ll be disappointed to find out that a new study has revealed that consuming orange and grapefruit juice in high amounts can increase the chances of developing melanoma, the less common but deadliest form of skin cancer.
The American Cancer Society has calculated that 73 870 people in the US alone will be diagnosed with melanoma this year and around 10 000 of them will die from this cancer.
The primary risk factor for melanoma is skin exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or from tanning beds and UV lamps, so how is citrus fruit juice connected to higher risk of skin cancer? It’s known that citrus contains some compounds, so called photoactive chemicals – psoralens and furocoumarins – that make the skin more sensitive to the sun and the UV radiation.
The study that made these groundbreaking discoveries was conducted by Dr. Shaowei Wu, of the Department of Dermatology at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence. In the study about 100 000 people were monitored between 1984 and 2010 and every couple of years all participants were requested to fill in detailed questioners regarding their lifestyle and eating habits. Especially important was their daily citrus intake, in the form of a juice or as a whole fruit. After the study had finished they analyzed the results.
From all the subjects more than 1,800 people developed melanoma, and the risk was much higher in those subjects who regularly ate citrus fruits or drank citrus juices regularly. There was a 25% higher chance for melanoma in those people whodrank orange juice once a day than in those who consumed it less than once a week. Moreover, people who ate grapefruits at least three times a week had a 41% higher chance for melanoma than those who didn’t ate it at all. What’s odd is that those who ate whole oranges and drank grapefruit juice didn’t exhibit any increased risk for melanoma, and this finding hasn’t been yet explained.
As astonishing as these results are, experts are still warning that it’s too soon to make any definite decisions and correlations. More studies must be conducted to make sure that the citrus-melanoma risk is real. For now, experts don’t recommend any broad changes to grapefruit or orange consumption, although it might be good not to consume them every day until further information is available. Experts don’t want to advise people not to eat fruits that are overall beneficial for their organism but people should be aware that there is a connection between citrus fruits and melanoma and maybe they’ll be more careful about sun exposure on the days when they eat citrus fruits.