Interview: Camelia Moldovan, nutritionist at Medisprof
The skin cancer is a cells (melanocyte) unorganized multiplication process which has produced pigment in the skin (melanin). The melanin is a substance with determine the color of the skin and in the same time defends it against the sunburns. When the melanocytes become cancerous, they multiply, increase their size and invade the other tissues. Around one million of skin cancers are diagnosed every years at a global level, and most of them are curable, if it is screened in time.
There is many myths regarding to the nutrition in the case of the skin cancer, which will be confirmed or disproved in the following answers of the nutrition specialist of the Medisprof clinic, Camelia Moldovan.
1. Is it true that the omega-3 acids protect us from skin cancer?
According to studies published in Carcinogenesis, a British journal, food products which contain omega-3 fatty acids could help the skin cancer prevention not only at an early stage but also the latest ones. The study results show that omega-3 fatty acids induce the death of malign cells and inhibit their growth at a size that will not affect normal cells, reason why it can be used in prevention of skin cancer apparition.
Because the human organism doesn’t produce a sufficient quantity of omega-3 fatty acids, the main modality in order to increase the level is through an increased consumption of foods rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. The main source of omega-3 fatty acids is fat fishes, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines and tuna. Also it is recommended to consume at least two portions of fish (100g/portion) per week.
There are also a lot of food sources for omega-3 including walnuts, flax seeds, beef, soybeans, tofu, seafood
2. Does vitamin A has a role in the skin cancer prevention?
The fact that the vitamin A can reduce the risk of cancer isn’t clear. It is possible that some people, who has a healthy alimentation, with an increase of consumption fruits and legumes, in which the organism accumulate the need of beta-carotene, will present a lower risk of developing different cancer types.
Currently, the influence of retinoid (synthetic form of the A vitamin) and their influence on the skin cancer is being searched. People who develop some types of skin cancer tend to present a low level of vitamins A and beta-carotene in blood. With all of this, the study results showing that the supplementation with vitamin A or beta – carotene could prevent or treat skin cancer are inconclusive.
3. In conclusion, a nutrition advice for skin cancer patients
The consumption of the mentioned food types can help the prevention of skin cancer. Realized studies on antioxidant, folic acid, fat, proteins and a full range of food are not really clear. Also, it was found that antioxidant can offer a protection when it concerns the skin cancer. So, food such as fish, beans, carrots, pumpkin, cabbage, broccoli and other vegetables containing beta – carotene and vitamin C, can help in prevention of this disease. The studies realized on animals suggest that the substances which can be found in aliments such as linseeds and soya help the fight against cancer.
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