The Australian ONTRAC trial has shown that a form of vitamin B3 called nicotinamide significantly reduces rates of new skin cancers in people at high risk of the disease. Taken as a twice-daily pill, nicotinamide reduced the incidence of new non-melanoma skin cancers by 23%. “Every opportunity to prevent cancer is welcome news. With this study, we have a remarkably simple and inexpensive way to help people avoid repeat diagnoses of some of the most common skin cancers. With just a daily vitamin pill, along with sun protection and regular skin cancer screenings, people at high risk for these types of skin cancers have a good preventive plan to follow,” said American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Presdident Peter Paul Yu, M.D. Nicotinamide is safe, affordable, and available over the counter in most countries. The findings have the potential to decrease the health burden and economic cost of skin cancer – the most common form of cancer in fair-skinned populations worldwide. “This is the first clear evidence that we can reduce skin cancers using a simple vitamin, together with sensible sun protection. We hope that these findings can be immediately translated into clinical practice,” said senior study author Diona Damian, MBBS, Ph.D., a Professor of Dermatology at the Dermatology University of Sydney. “However, people at high risk of skin cancer will still need regular check-ups with their doctor.” The primary cause of non-melanoma skin cancer is sun exposure. Despite intensive sun protection campaigns, the incidence of skin cancer is continuing to increase worldwide.
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