Low-Fat, Plant-Based Diet Helps Prevent Skin Cancer

Every sum­mer, we hear lots of advice to use sun­screen and wear hats and so on to help us avoid skin can­cer. No one ever both­ers to tell us that eat­ing a low-fat, plant-based diet also helps to pre­vent skin can­cer.

This arti­cle, which was pub­lished in 1994 in the New Eng­land Jour­nal of Med­i­cine, stud­ied the effect of a dietary change (a switch to a low­er-fat diet) on peo­ple who had had at least one non-melanoma skin can­cer. The peo­ple who switched to a low­er-fat diet were less like­ly to get new pre­can­cer­ous lesions. A fol­low-up study pub­lished in 1998 showed that they were also less like­ly to get skin can­cers.

A prop­er diet might also help reduce the risk of melanoma, which is the most dead­ly form of skin can­cer. Eat­ing too much polyun­sat­u­rat­ed fat increas­es the risk of can­cer in gen­er­al and melanoma in par­tic­u­lar. Peo­ple who drink too much alco­hol and don’t eat enough veg­eta­bles are also at high­er risk for melanoma.

Pho­to by Joe Shlabot­nik