Say goodbye to skin cancer
Question: I've read your advice on increasing vitamin D levels by getting plenty of sunshine, but my concern is that I've had skin cancer in the past and my doctor warned me that going out in the sun without sunscreen will make it return. Is there anything I can do to prevent that from happening?
Dr. Wright: Skin cancer is actually relatively common, but it's not the killer the media makes it out to be. In fact, it's usually found and treated early and is rarely fatal -- or even serious.
The problem is that, for many people, skin cancer keeps coming back even after they've been treated for one case. But recurrent skin cancer doesn't have to be a fact of life. The answer is often as simple as using retinoic acid, which can significantly decrease skin cancer recurrences or stop them altogether.
Retinoic acid is a form of vitamin A that is naturally present in the skin in very small quantities. It works by delivering a message to the DNA in the nucleus of skin cells, telling them to divide normally and not to "go cancerous." Sun exposure makes this "message delivery" much less effective, which can allow skin cancer to occur. But, as you read previously, we all need sun exposure in order to get enough vitamin D, which is a critical aspect of a huge list of body functions.
This is where supplemental retinoic acid steps in: It aids in delivering messages to the DNA that tell it to divide normally.
Retinoic acid obviously isn't the only factor in skin cancer prevention, but it's an important one that those people who have had recurring cases of skin cancer can use to reduce your risk or prevent it altogether.
Retinoic acid is sold as Retin-A (yes, that's the same Retin-A that teenagers use against acne) and is available by prescription only.
About the author
Jonathan V. Wright, M.D. has degrees from both Harvard University (cum laude) and the University of Michigan. More than any other doctor, he practically invented the modern science of applied nutritional biochemistry and he has advanced nutritional medicine for nearly three decades.
As of today, Dr. Wright has received over 35,000 patient visits at his now-famous Tahoma Clinic in Washington State.
To learn more about Dr. Wright, and to sign up for his free Health e-Tips eLetter, please visit www.wrightnewsletter.com.