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Conquer Cancer Health News

Eat Right to Fight Skin Cancer Advice From Dermatologists

ORLANDO, Fla.(Reuters)

Skin cancer should be added to the list of diseases that can be prevented or lessened by eating a low-fat, vitamin-rich diet, researchers said.

Dermatologists have been too slow to join the legion of medical specialists who offer nutritional counseling, said Dr. Harvey Arbesman, a professor of dermatology at the University of Buffalo.

"People who sunburn easily-fair-skinned people, blonds, redheads-and people who are out in the sun a lot should be especially conscious of diet," Arbesman said.

About 1 million new skin cancers are diagnosed each year, and 96 percent are the kind that could be influenced by proper diet, researchers said.

50 Studies Suggest Link The diet is no different than that suggested by other cancer specialists. But Arbesman and others warned that dermatologists have been slow to recognize its importance, despite some 50 studies pointing to a link between diet and cancer.

In essence, at-risk patients and those already diagnosed with skin cancer should lower their fat intake, experts said. Typically, North Americans get about 40 percent of their calories from fat. The target should be 20 percent.

At the same time, people should consume more antioxidants-fruits and vegetables rich in selenium, beta carotene and vitamin C.

Beta carotene can be found in carrots, broccoli and spinach. Whole wheat flour, mushrooms, tuna are rich in selenium. And red and green peppers, oranges and cranberries are good sources of vitamin C, researchers said.

Vitamin E supplements also help prevent skin cancer, but researchers suggest consulting a doctor before taking them.

Anti-oxidants attack certain oxygen atoms called free radicals, which are produced by the body and stimulate cancer growth, researchers said.

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