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Vitamins/carotenoids not likely to reduce the risk of squamous cell skin cancer

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Researchers have reported that higher intakes of vitamins A, C, E and carotene apparently do not reduce the risk of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the skin.

A Follow-up study of 85,944 women in the Nurses’ Health Study and 43,876 men in the Health Professionals were examined prospectively for the intake of vitamins A, C and E as well as folate and carotenoids in relation to incidence of SCC of the skin by Dr. Teresa T. Fung and colleagues at Harvard School of public Health, Boston.

Every 2-4 years participants completed food frequency questionnaires. During a follow-up of 10-14 years, the team recorded 369 cases of SCC in women and 305 cases in men.

Multivariate analyses adjusted for known risk factors for SCC failed to show any significant inverse associations between these dietary factors and SCC incidence. Only a ‘small and nonsignificant’ inverse association between retinol and SCC emerged.

In comments to Reuters Health, Dr. Fung said: ‘There aren’t a lot of human data on the potential effect of nutrients/foods on squamous cell skin cancer. Animal data is abundant but we are not mice so the usefulness is limited.’
While higher dietary intake of vitamins A, C and E and carotenoids is not protective against SCC, ‘this does not mean that one shouldn’t have ample amounts of those nutrients in the diet since they have other beneficial health effects,’ Dr. Fung went on to say. ‘However, in minimising one’s risk for SCC, it would be best to first focus on other known risk factors, such as the amount of sun exposure.’

(Source: International Journal of Cancer & Reuters Health)

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Posted On: 13 January, 2003
Modified On: 6 December, 2013


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