There are many ways to lower your risk of skin cancer and we have shared many of them with you in our past blogs. Protection from UV rays with sunscreen, covering up exposed skin with protective clothing and wide brimmed hats, avoiding sun exposure during peak hours and tracking your moles with annual skin checks are some examples.
All of these methods have to do with what is happening at the skin surface. What about underneath the surface? A recent study from Rutgers University suggests that there could be a link between fat reduction and reduced skin cancer risk. While working with obese mice, researchers found that after they removed the abdominal fat, they had a “75 to 80 percent less risk of developing UV induced skin cancers.”
We have known for sometime that maintaining a healthy weight better equips your immune system to fight off cancers. ” Obesity is associated with increased risks of cancers of the esophagus, breast (postmenopausal), endometrium (the lining of the uterus), colon and rectum, kidney, pancreas, thyroid, gallbladder, and possibly other cancer types.” – National Cancer Institute.
Several possible mechanisms have been suggested to explain the relationship between obesity and an increased risk of certain cancers:
- Fat tissue produces more estrogen than the body needs. High levels of estrogen have been linked to an increase risk of breast, endometrial, and other cancers.
- Obese people often have elevated levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in their blood which could lead to tumor development.
- Fat cells produce hormones, called adipokines, that may stimulate or inhibit cell growth.
- Obese people often have chronic low-level, or “subacute,” inflammation, which is associated with increased cancer risk.
Even though scientists understand that fat tissue may play a role in tumor formation, there has been little research on how a diet high in fat increases the risk of skin cancer. The Rutgers study on mice suggests that the removal of abdominal fat has a significant impact on the risk of developing skin cancer, but no human studies have been conducted to prove the same is true for us. While it is widely accepted that decreased calorie-intake, low-fat diets and physical exercise are recommended for treating obesity and lowering cancer risk, preventing cancer by surgically removing tissue fat through liposuction still needs to be explored.
A balanced, low-fat diet and physical excercise are still recommended to help reduce your fat and your risk for potential health problems, including cancers.
To get you started, here is a healthy summer recipe from Dr. Asarch.
Take advantage of the fresh summer fruits and vegetables available at your local farmer’s market and combine them into a deliciously refreshing salad.
Tomato and Corn Salad
2 ears fresh corn, husked
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 red onion, diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Serve over Spinach
Nutrition information per serving:
Fat: 8 g
Saturated fat: 1 g
Trans fat: 0 gm
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 22 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 116 mg
Protein: 4 g