Can The Secret To Skin Cancer Prevention ‘B’ In A Vitamin?

Recent research in Australia has shown that a type of Vitamin B could significantly reduce the risk of developing new skin cancers. A medical study consisting of close to 400 patients who had been previously diagnosed and treated for non melanoma skin cancers, compared two interventions. One group was given 500 mg of vitamin B3 (also known as nicotinamide) twice a day, and other group was given a placebo. After 1 year, those patients who received the vitamin showed a 23% reduction in the development of new skin cancers like Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma compared to the group that took the placebo.

Pills and bottle“Dermatologists are quoted in saying ‘skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, and also one of the most preventable,'” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, board certified Dermatologist and Mohs Micrographic Surgeon in Austin, Texas.”Of course, we are usually referring to the sun and protecting our skin from damage. Studies like this show us how proactive we can really be with our health!”

Dr. Mamelak is no stranger to skin cancer. He treats patients at the  Sanova Dermatology and Austin Mohs Surgery Center, a clinic specifically dedicated to the evaluation and management of skin cancer patients.

Dr. Mamelak describes this study as monumental. “Preventative medicine is a hard thing,” he states.  “It’s easy to say ‘quit smoking’ or ‘lose weight,’ but how easy is it to get results?” Nowadays, it also seems medical breakthroughs come at a premium. Designer drugs can cost patients thousands of dollars to control their symptoms and disease. How often is a cheap and easily accessible solution available to patients?

The results concluded that simply by taking the nicotinamide vitamin, the development of new basal cell carcinoma was reduced by 20%, squamous cell carcinoma by 30%, and actinic keratoses were reduced by 13%. Patients in the study noticed the reduction in risk after taking the vitamin for 3 months, but these benefits ceased once they stopped taking it.

As exciting as this news is, it doesn’t mean people need to stop protecting their skin. “I do not advise tossing your sunscreen in the garbage,” urges Dr. Mamelak. Regular sunscreen application is still the most effective way to combat UV rays, the leading cause for skin cancer development. “I will however start encouraging my patients, especially those with transplants or at high risk, to make sure they take their vitamins as well.”

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