Topical agents, diet and certain medicines presented at the American Academy of Dermatology’s Summer Academy Meeting 2010 in Chicago is showing promise for preventing UV-induced skin cancer. Most skin cancers are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, and dermatologists are now encouraging the public to be conscientious about the amount of sun they are exposed to, and taking extra steps to use broad-spectrum sunscreen on a regular basis.
Still, incidences of non-melanoma skin cancer continue to rise, and researchers are investigating the effects of certain foods, vitamins and medicines that may prevent skin cancer.
Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham shared the results of some of the latest research initiatives that showcase the benefits of medicine and diet in preventing UV-induced skin cancer. According to dermatologist Craig A. Elmets, MD, FAAD, professor and chair of the Department of Dermatology and Director of the Skin Diseases Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, “Based on the research conducted thus far, it appears that several different agents have the potential to be effective in providing enhanced sun protection and preventing non-melanoma skin cancers…while the way these agents work are different, we have seen encouraging results with both oral and topical agents, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), eflornithine and certain types of natural antioxidants.” (Source: Medical News Today)
Dr. Elmets explained that oral medication can be effective at preventing basal cell nevus syndrome, a genetic defect that triggers the development of basal cell carcinoma at a very early age. Other drugs can be injected into the skin to inhibit cancer cell formation. A number of antioxidants were also evaluated for their chemopreventive properties, and some were found to destroy free radicals and compounds in the body that damage the DNA. Several clinical studies suggest that polyphenols in grape seed extract and green tea can help to prevent the growth of certain types of skin tumors.