Will Drinking OJ Increase your Risk of Melanoma?

How does Citrus Increase Melanoma Risks?

Melanoma is becoming increasingly common, even to people who have no heredity of cancer. But does one need CPR and first aid certification to take care of a person with melanoma? Of course, because advanced cancer comes with many complications. Now … back to melanoma …

Citrus fruits contain photoactive chemicals that make the skin more sensitive to the harmful rays of the sun. The two most common photoactive chemicals found in citrus fruits are psoralens and furocoumarins.

When psoralens and furocoumarins are applied to the skin topically they decrease the amount of time you have to be exposed to the sun before you begin to suffer from sunburn. Remember when you were young and you ate a citrus pop? Some of the pop would drip onto your chin and when you went inside from playing the area that the juice had touched would be burned, while the rest of your face would not be burned. The area that burned did so because the psoralens and the furocoumarins caused the area they touched to be more sensitive to the sun’s rays.

Could your morning orange juice give you skin cancer?

No. Your morning orange juice, or your grapefruit half, will not give you skin cancer. The consumption of citrus fruits and juices may slightly increase the likelihood that you will develop a type of skin cancer known as melanoma.

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is one of the three common skin cancers. Melanoma, basal cell, and squamous cell are the three basic skin cancers. Melanoma can be treated successfully, but it must be detected in its early stages in order to keep treatment from being difficult.

The Study

The Journal of Clinical Oncology posted the results of a study that has been underway for the past twenty five years. 100,000 people were carefully watched for twenty five years. Their consumption of citrus foods and beverages were documented as were there skin sensitivity to the ultra violet rays of the sun. The results were that people who ate and drank citrus foods on a regular basis were more likely to get sunburns in a shorter period of time than people who did not eat or drink citrus foods.

What this means to consumers

You should not stop eating or drinking citrus foods because you fear sunburn. You should start to apply sunscreen on a daily basis before you venture outside into the sunlight. Everyone should be applying sunscreen daily, even the people who do not indulge in citrus fruits.

What this means to health care professionals

This information should help health care professionals to develop strategies for their patients so they can accurately judge their sensitivity to sunlight. Some people assume that they were not sensitive to sunlight when they were children, so they should not have a problem with sunlight when they get older, but your skin changes, and the medications you take as your age also change your sensitivity to sunlight.

Healthcare professionals should inform their patients about the possibility that drinking fruit juices like orange juice, or grapefruit juice could increase their possibility of getting a sunburn. An informed public is better prepared to protect themselves, and will be more apt to follow their doctor’s advice.