Could a Vitamin Prevent Skin Cancer?An inexpensive, easily available vitamin supplement could reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, according to preliminary research from the University of Sydney in Australia. Specifically, when taken twice a day, a form of vitamin B3 called nicotinamide is linked to a 23 percent reduction of non-melanoma skin cancers. That's right, a vitamin that costs less than $10 for a month's supply could prevent squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma.
"It's safe, it's almost obscenely inexpensive and it's already widely commercially available," lead study author Dr. Diona Damian, a professor of dermatology, told HealthDay News.
That said, the research is still preliminary and more study is needed before it can be concluded that everyone would benefit from taking vitamin B3 supplements. However, if this pans out, it could have huge implications, as skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States with some five million cases treated annually.
Common skin cancers--squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma--typically grow slowly and can be cured if found and treated early, according to the American Cancer Society. A more dangerous and potentially fatal skin cancer called melanoma accounts for just 73,000 cases a year.
Almost all skin cancers are caused when ultraviolet rays from the sun damage DNA skin cells.
The study findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.