For millions of Americans, warnings about the cancer causing effects of excessive sun exposure have come too little or too late. But a panel of dermatology experts reported last week that a number of common topical and edible agents are now being tested for their ability to slow or prevent the onset of disease among those already overexposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Researchers from the Dermatologic Surgery at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City said that research is focusing on the link between diet and cancer prevention, with green tea and soybeans standing out as two of the most promising foods. He noted that certain antioxidants in green tea and certain isoflavones found in soy products seemed to stop the growth of tumors in early animal studies.
Other preliminary findings suggest that a diet low in fat, or higher in unsaturated fat than saturated fat, may also result in fewer skin tumors, he said. Even aspirin and over-the counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines appear to have preventative effects.
Since it can take 10 to 20 years for the effects of sun damage to appear on the skin, these new treatments may in the long run prove to be lifesavers following sun exposure. But the researchers cautioned that research is ongoing and inconclusive to date, so consumers should not to hastily embark on any vitamin or food program--particularly those with side effects.
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