However, this study didn’t test if skin cancers were caused by citrus fruits and more needs to be done in order for this connection to be confirmed as written by the authors in Journal of Clinical Oncology. Something worth noting is that the single observational study didn’t provide results that are a reflection of the U.S population as a whole and their interpretation should be done with caution, as Dr. Abrar Qureshi, the senior author noted.

Potentially life threatening cancer

Qureshi collaboraged with Channing Division of Network Medicine located at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Cutaneous malignant melanoma has been rated as among the most life threatening and fatal kind of skin cancer. Even though incredible advances have been made recently when it comes to treating melanoma, prevention of melanoma by using sun protection as well as being screened for cancer is highly recommended.

In this study, data of over 63, 000 women in Nurse’s Health Study as well as 41,000 men in Health Professionals Follow-Up study were used by the researchers. Both of them were run between mid 1980s and 2010. After between every two and four years, data was collected by researchers on the dietary patterns of the participants. In addition to this, the women and men involved in the study reported health events such as diagnosis for melanoma and medical records were used by the researchers to confirm this.

Questions were asked to the participants such as the frequency in which they consumed oranges, grape fruit, orange juice or grapefruit juice with these four categories being regarded as an estimation of their overall consumption of citrus. This is despite the fact that other citruses such as limes and lemons were not included.

Cases of melanoma confirmed

After following the study participants for over 20 years, the researchers confirmed 1840 melanoma cases in the study group. Upon comparing this to people who took citrus twice a week or less, those who ate the citrus fruits between two and four times had an increased risk of being diagnosed with melanoma of about 10 percent. The risk of being diagnosed with the cancer continued to increase with the consumption of citrus with the increase being 36 percent for those that it the fruits daily for about 1.5 times on average.

Grapefruit was found to have the highest likelihood of causing melanoma of the various citrus fruits in question. Even when the researchers factored in the participant’s geographic location and sun exposure amount, there was a still very high association between skin cancer and citrus fruits as Qureshi noted. Furocoumarins are photoactive compounds contained in fresh citrus fruits and increases the sensitivity of the individual to us and this sun exposure damages the skin cells. While the vegetables and fruits are very important to our health, it is essential that people are careful about consuming them regularly.