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High Fat Intake May Reduce, Not Boost Skin Cancer Risk

Study contradicts previous research

WEDNESDAY, May 31 (HealthDay News) -- High fat intake actually appears to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer, contradicting previous research that suggested that a high-fat diet could increase skin cancer risk, according to a study published online May 30 in BMC Cancer.

Robert H. Granger, Dr.P.H., from Menzies Research Institute in Tasmania, Australia, and colleagues studied 652 patients with cutaneous malignant melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, and 471 individuals without skin cancer. Based on the dietary fat intake, subjects were categorized as high-fat, medium-fat or low-fat consumers, and followed for 56 to 80 months for the appearance of new non-melanoma skin cancers.

The researchers found a significant trend for a reduced risk of developing a new skin cancer with a higher fat intake, with an odds ratio of 0.76 for medium fat intake and 0.62 for high fat intake relative to lowest fat intake comparing cases and controls. The incidence rate ratio among patients with skin cancer also was lower with higher fat intake, though this was not statistically significant.

"Using the same dietary instrument with two study designs in the same Caucasian population, we found no evidence that high fat intake increases the risk of developing melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancers," Granger and colleagues conclude. "Instead, our results suggest a risk reduction for high fat intake."

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