CancerDiet-MediterraneanOmega-6 Fatty Acids

Mediterranean diet: Protective against melanoma

Researchers from Istituto Dermopatico dell Immacolata in Rome, Italy report its effect on the risk for cutaneous melanoma — the cancer diagnosed in Senator McCain.

First, the details.

  • The dietary habits of 304 hospitalized patients with cutaneous melanoma were compared to 305 patients in the same hospital who did not have cutaneous melanoma.
  • The findings were adjusted for sun exposure and skin pigment.

And, the results.

  • Weekly consumption of fish, shellfish, fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and daily tea drinking were significantly associated with protection from cutaneous melanoma.
  • High consumption of vegetables — in particular carrots, cruciferous, and leafy vegetables — were associated with a significant protective effect.
  • Fruits — in particular citrus fruits — were also significantly protective.
  • There was no protective association with alcohol consumption or other foods.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Some dietary factors present in the Mediterranean diet might protect from cutaneous melanoma.”

The results are supported by other studies.

Researchers from Modena and Milan, Italy reported, “Excess energy-adjusted intake of linoleic acid [an omega-6 fatty acid] and a lower consumption of soluble carbohydrates may increase melanoma risk.

Researchers from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu reported, “Polyunsaturated fat intake appeared to modify the [negative] effects of alcohol and toenail selenium on melanoma risk.”

9/18/08 20:45 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.