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Foods, Drugs and Vitamins May Help Prevent Skin Cancer

Posted: August 12, 2010
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“In patients with basal cell cacinomas, investigators have found that the COX-2 enzyme is elevated in non-melanoma skin cancers. Because celecoxib inhibits this enzyme, clinical studies have demonstrated that taking celecoxib seems to decrease the number of new basal cell carcinomas in basal cell nevus syndrome,” he said. “This is very encouraging, particularly if this can eventually be applied to basal cell skin cancer in the general population.”

According to Elmets, eflornithine is another drug that has been shown to have beneficial effects in preventing basal cell carcinoma. FDA-approved as a topical treatment for excessive hair growth and as an injectable formulation to treat sleeping sickness, eflornithine inhibits the enzyme known as ornithine decarboxylase that is found to be elevated in skin cancers.

“Although celecoxib and eflornithine work by different mechanisms, initial studies show that they both prevent basal cell carcinomas by at least 30%,” said  Elmets. “Based on these initial findings, these two drugs are considered very promising as chemopreventive agents and require additional clinical study.”

Natural antioxidants in preventing skin cancer

In addition, numerous natural antioxidants are being evaluated for their chemopreventive properties. Antioxidants are substances that destroy free radicals, which are harmful compounds in the body that damage DNA and even cause cell death. Free radicals are believed to contribute to aging as well as the development of a number of health problems, including skin cancer.