Sydney, Australia—The risk of common, nonmelanoma skin cancer in high-risk patients was significantly lowered after a year of treatment with nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3, according to Australian research. The study, published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine, involved 386 participants with a history of skin cancer. Researchers from the University of Sydney found that nicotinamide taken as a twice-daily pill for 12 months reduced the incidence of new nonmelanoma skin cancers by 23% relative to placebo controls and decreased the incidence of precancerous sun lesions by about 15%. Study authors point out that nicotinamide is safe, affordable, and available OTC in most countries. The researchers also recommend that, because of the low risk, their findings be immediately translated into clinical practice. They also emphasize, however, that safe sun behavior, use of sunscreens and regular check-ups remain critical in preventing skin cancer.

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