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Vitamin B3 for Skin Cancer Reduction

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A year of treatment with nicotinamide—a form of vitamin B3—significantly lowers the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer in high-risk individuals, according to University of Sydney research.

Signs of Skin Cancer Reduction

The study had 386 participants around the average age of 66 with at least two non-melanoma skin cancers in the last five years, which considers them to be at high risk. The participants were randomly selected to consume a nicotinamide pill or placebo twice daily for one year.

New non-melanoma skin cancer was reduced by 23% relative to placebo controls. Meanwhile, the average number of actinic keratoses—pre-cancerous sun spots—in the nicotinamide group was also lower during treatment, ranging from 11% reduction at three months to 20% at nine months.

"This is the first clear evidence that we can reduce skin cancers using a simple vitamin, together with sensible sun protection," said Diona Damian, Ph.D., professor of dermatology at the University of Sydney and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the study's senior author. "We hope that these findings can be immediately translated into clinical practice. However, people at high risk of skin cancer still need to practice sun safe behavior, use sunscreens and have regular check-ups with their doctor.”

Future Questions

Currently, researchers still have to investigate whether nicotinamide:

  1. Can benefit those who have not had skin cancer and
  2. If it could be effective in reducing melanoma.

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