Researchers reported that people who drink large amount of orange juice or who eat a lot of grapefruit may be increasing their risk of melanoma.
The researchers reported that it is far too soon to suggest that people cut down on these fruits, but the study is work looking into more deeply.
There is a plausible mechanism for grapefruit and oranges to raise cancer risk. They contain compounds that may explain the link: furocoumarins, which make the skin more sensitive to sunlight and psoralen. Both interact with ultraviolet light to cause melanoma cells to multiply and psoralen was used as a tanning activator in suntan lotion until 1996.
The study observed more than 100,000 Americans that participated in two studies. Both studies are complicated and detailed studies that have bene going on for more than 25 years, asking questions about diet, habit and other personal matters and watching for diseases and other health issues.
The risk of melanoma was low overall, fewer than 2% of the people in the study were diagnosed with melanoma in the 25 years. However, the risk was 36% higher in people who ate or drank at least1.6 six-ounce servings of citrus fruit or juice daily compared to those who consumed less than twice per week.
Researcher checked into all sorts of complicating factors, from whether people smoked, to whether they were drinking fruit juice because they were in the sun more. Nothing else explained the association.
Although the findings are intriguing, it is too soon to recommend any broad changes to grapefruit or orange consumption. Until conclusive data are available, it is advised that people should continue to be cautious about protecting their skin from sun exposure.
Researchers do not advise people to cut back on citrus, but advise those who consume a lot of citrus to be particularly careful to avoid prolonged sun exposure.
There are some detractors of this study. In commentary, one person mentioned how most of the study participants were nurses; approximately 64,000. The others were males in the health care professions. That alone, according to this commentator invalidated the results as the participants were not representative of the general population.