A Cheap, Common Vitamin Could Cut Your Skin Cancer Risk

A Cheap, Common Vitamin Could Cut Your Skin Cancer Risk Photo (cc) by Dean Hochman

An inexpensive, over-the-counter vitamin could substantially reduce the recurrence of non-melanoma skin cancer in people who’ve already had the disease.

According to The New York Times, a study by the American Society of Clinical Oncology found that people who took two pills of vitamin B3 (or nicotinamide) a day had a 23 percent lower risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer than people who took a placebo pill.

“It’s safe, it’s almost obscenely inexpensive and it’s widely available,” said Dr. Diona Damian, the lead investigator of the study, in a news conference. “This one is ready to go into the clinic.”

The yearlong study involved 386 people in Australia who had previously suffered squamous-cell carcinoma or basal-cell carcinoma, two types of non-melanoma skin cancer, at least twice in the past five years, though the average patient in the trial had eight cancers, the Times noted.

“It’s a large study with a positive result,” Peter Paul Yu, director of cancer research at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, told Forbes. “You take a high risk population, and you don’t need thousands of patients and you only need a year.”

Though the results of the study are promising, not everyone should start popping nicotinamide pills.

“A benefit in patients who’ve already gotten skin cancer won’t necessarily translate to those who haven’t,” Forbes said.

But if you’ve suffered skin cancer in the past, this B3 supplement may be worth trying. Just make sure to talk to your doctor first.

Click here for more tips on “How to Save Your Money While Saving Your Skin.”

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