Like Eating Shellfish Can Make Cancer? Fact Check
Cancer can occur when the body’s cells mutate abnormally without control. The exact cause of the change of normal cells into cancer cells is not yet known. However, shellfish are suspected of causing the condition. Is that true? Check out the explanation below
Can Eating Shellfish Often Cause Cancer?
For connoisseurs of seafood or seafood, you should be careful. The reason is, certain types of shellfish reportedly can increase the risk of cancer. This was stated by research in 2008 with the title Shellfish Consumption: A Major Risk Factor for Colorectal Cancer.
According to the report, toxins that accumulate in shellfish have the potential to enter the digestive tract and trigger certain diseases in this organ, including digestive cancer.
Researchers warn that shellfish may be the cause diarrhetic shellfish poison (DSP). This is a condition of severe diarrhea caused by consuming shellfish contaminated with DSP poison.
DSP itself is a marine biotoxin produced by toxic dinoflagellates. When clams ‘eat’ this algae, the resulting poison will be stored in the shells.
DSP toxins are tumor triggers that can increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
Also Read: 5 Types of Shellfish that are Safe and Delicious to Eat
Supporting these findings, a report from the Shanghai Women’s Health Study revealed the fact that consuming large amounts of shellfish is associated with the risk of colorectal cancer.
Even so, the study involving 73,224 participants also did not rule out other factors, such as environmental pollution.
Some studies have also found that there is a relationship between fish and shellfish consumption and the incidence of thyroid cancer.
On the other hand, the high content of iron and copper in it is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. The cadmium content in it is also relatively high. This content is known as a breast carcinogen.
Also Read: Diabetes and its Relation to Increased Risk of Cancer
Tips for Safe Consumption of Shellfish
Several studies have revealed that shellfish can cause cancer. However, this seafood can bring health benefits if consumed within reasonable limits.
Mussels are low in fat and are a good source of copper, zinc, iodine and selenium. In fact, some types of shellfish, such as oysters and mussels, are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, though not as much as fatty fish.
So that consumption remains safe, here are some things you need to pay attention to, including:
- If you want to eat outside, make sure the restaurant or place you choose has guaranteed quality. Likewise when you want to cook yourself at home; choose a reputable place to buy.
- Store clams in cold temperatures to prevent bacteria from growing and developing.
- Avoid keeping clams in water. The reason is, this will make the shells die and rot so that they are not suitable for eating.
- Clams that have been removed from the freezer and thawed can be left for up to two days. However, avoid re-freezing thawed clams.
- Pay attention to how to cook properly and correctly. If clams must be peeled, be sure to boil, fry, or grill them first.
- Avoid serving raw shellfish mixed with ready-to-serve foods.
- Don’t eat clams that don’t open when cooked. It could just be that the shells are not safe to eat.
- Consume shellfish within reasonable limits.
Now, those are important facts about shellfish and their relation to cancer. To keep your consumption of seafood safe, pay attention to the tips mentioned above.
- Anonymous. 2022. Fish and Shellfish. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/food-types/fish-and-shellfish-nutrition/. (Accessed 10 February 2023).
- Anonymous. 2023. Shellfish Should Be Avoided for Breast Cancer. https://foodforbreastcancer.com/foods/shellfish. (Accessed 10 February 2023).
- Anonymous. Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP). https://doh.wa.gov/community-and-environment/shellfish/recreational-shellfish/illnesses/biotoxins/diarrhetic-shellfish-poisoning. (Accessed 10 February 2023).
- Anonymous. Shellfish Handling, Storing, and Cooking. https://doh.wa.gov/community-and-environment/shellfish/recreational-shellfish/illness-prevention/handle-store-and-cook. (Accessed 10 February 2023).
- Net, Solen Le. 2022. Fish Can Have ‘Tumour-Promoting’ Effects – ‘major Risk Factor’ for Colon Cancer. https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/1670066/cancer-colon-diet-shellfish. (Accessed 10 February 2023).
- Suzuki, Toshiyuki & Quilliam, Michael A. 2011. Lc-Ms/Ms Analysis of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) Toxins, Okadaic Acid and Dinophysistoxin Analogues, and Other Lipophilic Toxins. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21666353/. (Accessed 10 February 2023).
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