A latest University of Manchester research is conducted to determine if the fatty acids present in oily fish can enhance skin immunity, which may in turn lower a person’s risk of developing skin cancer. They wanted to evaluate if dietary omega-3 can shield against the disease by improving skin immunity.
It is estimated that annually around 67,000 people are diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer in the U.K. This type of cancer is believed to be the most common type of cancer, which is thought to be mainly caused by excessive sun exposure.
This research was funded by the cancer charity, Association for International Cancer Research (AICR). They hope to examine more than 60 healthy women with nickel allergy (skin reactions to metal). These subjects will be examined by Professor Lesley Rhodes and team in the Photobiology Unit at the University’s School of Medicine and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Hospital. These subjects will be tested to see if they yield the same positive results produced in lab test results.
Professor Rhodes, an expert on skin cancer research, says that, “The ultraviolet radiation present in sunlight is a complete carcinogen, both initiating and promoting cancer development. The UV radiation promotes cancer development through its ability to suppress the immune system in the skin. The immune system protects against skin cancer, probably by killing off cancerous cells before they can develop into a tumour.” She continues that through this research, they hope to determine if dietary omega-3 fatty acids can shield the skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun, and thus prevent the onset of skin cancer.
It is said that, animal studies have yielded positive response to the use of nutritional supplements with omega-3 fatty acids. These supplements have apparently shielded the body against immune suppression caused by UVR, and also against skin cancer. They hope that this research may evaluate if it has the same outcome on humans as well.
AICR’s scientific adviser, Dr. Mark Matfield, hopes that this harmless alternative may prove to be of great help in the medical world. He states that cases of skin cancer diagnosis are rapidly increasing worldwide. Thus, a small preventative step may also prove to be beneficial in reducing the number of people diagnosed with this disease.