Food intake and risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin in a community: the Nambour skin cancer cohort study

Int J Cancer. 2006 Oct 15;119(8):1953-60. doi: 10.1002/ijc.22061.


There is some evidence that dietary factors may modify the risk of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the skin, but the association between food intake and SCC has not been evaluated prospectively. We examined the association between food intake and SCC incidence among 1,056 randomly selected adults living in an Australian sub-tropical community. Measurement-error corrected estimates of intake in 15 food groups were defined from a validated food frequency questionnaire in 1992. Associations with SCC risk were assessed using Poisson and negative binomial regression to the persons affected and tumour counts, respectively, based on incident, histologically confirmed tumours occurring between 1992 and 2002. After multivariable adjustment, none of the food groups was significantly associated with SCC risk. Stratified analysis in participants with a past history of skin cancer showed a decreased risk of SCC tumours for high intakes of green leafy vegetables (RR = 0.45, 95% CI = 0.22-0.91; p for trend = 0.02) and an increased risk for high intake of unmodified dairy products (RR = 2.53, 95% CI: 1.15-5.54; p for trend = 0.03). Food intake was not associated with SCC risk in persons who had no past history of skin cancer. These findings suggest that consumption of green leafy vegetables may help prevent development of subsequent SCCs of the skin among people with previous skin cancer and that consumption of unmodified dairy products, such as whole milk, cheese and yoghurt, may increase SCC risk in susceptible persons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / classification
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet*
  • Humans
  • Queensland / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / classification
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology*