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Updated on April 20, 2009

Save Your Skin

Beware of the sun! warns that anyone who has enjoyed even short periods of sunbathing should see a doctor regularly. If you are one of those people who spends a great deal of time in the sun, or spent time in the sun, should see a dermatologist once or twice a year.  It's serious stuff, absolutely, especially now, summer are on the way.

According to the American Cancer Society, there are three types of skin cancer. Basal or Aquamous cell cancers are considered to be less serious than Melanoma, the most severe and deadly form. About 1 million American learn that they have skin cancer.

Skin cancers occurs when the epidermis, or outer layer of skin, grows abnormal cells uncontrollably. The most common froms are easily treated, but a third type, melanoma, is extremely virulent and can be fatal. Fortunately, all skin cancers are easy to detect.


Standard treatment for basal cell carcinoma, the benign form of skin cancer, is removal of the tumor through surgery or freezing. When dealt with early, these tumors rarely pose a problem once removed.

Conventional treatments for these skin conditions typically deal with the problem once it has emerged. The solutions consists mainly of medicated topical creams and ointments to clear the infected area. However, these may produce side effects, given that the medications often contain antibiotics, steroids, and hormones. Further, since they do not address the cause of the problem, their effects are usually temporary. Natural solutions, on the other hand, are simple. They do not produce side effects, but rather focus on prevention so that individuals may lessen their susceptibility to the problem.

Other foods on the front lines of the cancer war:

Soy Products Soybeans, tofu, miso, tempeh, and soy milk contain cancer-fighting compounds known as phytochemicals, as do many fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods.

Whole Grains Bread, cereal, and side dishes made from whole oats, wheat, and rice contain folic, fiber, and the antioxidant mineral selenium, all of which are known to help ward off cancer. Research suggests that selenium, also found in Brazil nuts and garlic, may specifically protest against skin cancer.

Fish Many types of oily, cold-water fish, such as mackerel, salmon, and tuna, feature the antioxidant powers of selenium and are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce your general cancer risk.

Flaxseed Oil Made from the brown seeds of the flax plant, flaxseed oil is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Adding its nutty, buttery taste to salads or sprinkling it on food may specifically help reduce the risk of skin cancer.


Although a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts provides a wealth of antioxidant protection, supplements may be necessary to ensure that you get adequate amounts. Following are some supplement suggestions:

  • ECGC: Epigallocatechin-gallate is a powerful antioxidant that some researchers believe may be the most potent cancer-fighting compound yet discovered. The main dietary source is green tea, but it is available in capsules and tablets. Suggested daily dose: Two 250-mg. pills.
  • Selenium: This antioxidant works with vitamin E to protect cells. It's available in most plant foods, but amounts vary widely depending on selenium content of soil. Suggested daily dose:100-200 mcg.
  • Vitamin E: Suggested daily dose: 100 IU.
  • Fish oil capsules: These provide omega-3 fatty acids. Suggested daily dose: 3,000 mg.


It's very important to examine your skin often for any irregularities, which may be signs of a precancerous skin condition. Ask a friend or spouse to check areas that you can't see. If you notice any moles that look different on one side than another, have irregular edges or color, or are larger than the diameter of a pencil eraser (6 mm.), see a dermatologist or your doctor right away.


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