Your best protection against skin cancer
A DIET full of vitamin A can reduce your risk of skin cancer, new research has found.
Queensland has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, and two in three Queenslanders will be diagnosed with it by the age of 75.
But there is good news for the Sunshine State, with the JAMA Dermatology Journal publishing research showing that people who eat vitamin-A-rich foods such as lean meat, leafy greens and pasta have a reduced risk of developing one of the most common forms of skin cancer.
Melanoma Institute Australia co-medical director Professor Richard Scolyer said that continuing research into protective strategies for all types of skin cancer is vital.
"It is imperative that Australians remain vigilant in protecting themselves from the sun. UV exposure leading to sunburn is the single biggest risk factor for developing skin cancer, including melanoma, which claims one Australian life every five hours," Prof Scolyer said.
The researchers investigated two long-term study groups of about 125,000 health professionals, including a follow-up period of more than 26 years.
Of the large study of US women and men, researchers found that a higher intake of total vitamin A was associated with lower risk of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and the results were generally consistent between men and women.
Moorooka mother-of-three Clarissa Fraser was happy to hear vitamin-A-rich foods could help ensure her family never has to deal with a skin cancer diagnosis.
"We eat vegies every night, so it's really pleasing to hear that there's this positive benefit as well," she said.
"I'm always keen to cook healthy meals and prepare healthy snacks for the girls, I think it's good that we have this new knowledge.
"That vitamin A could reduce skin cancer is good because it's accessible to everyone if you make good food choices."
But the study authors stressed that more research is still needed to determine whether this could also be the case with vitamin A supplements.
Cancer Council Queensland chief executive Ms Chris McMillan said that Queensland has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. "Slip on protective clothing. Slop on SPF30 or above broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen. Slap on a broadbrimmed hat. Seek shade and Slide on wraparound sunglasses."
The recommended daily intake of vitamin A for adult men and women is 0.9mg and 0.7mg, respectively.
Sources of fully formed and precursor vitamin A include:
* Lean meats, liver or liver pate,
* Poultry, oily fish and egg yolks
* Leafy green vegetables, as well as orange, yellow and other coloured vegetables legumes and beans
* Fruit, including tomatoes
* Wholegrain and/or high fibre foods, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, polenta, couscous, oats and barley
* Tofu, nuts and seeds
* Butter, whole milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat