Archive for March, 2012

Nail UV lamps and skin cancer

This was an interesting article in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday which your patients may ask you about tomorrow:


Fingers face cancer risk under nail lamps

RACHEL BROWNE March 25, 2012

UV lamps commonly used in nail salons are akin to ”mini tanning beds” and may pose a skin cancer risk, says one of Australia’s leading melanoma researchers.

Graham Mann, professor in medicine at the University of Sydney and a researcher at the Westmead Millennium Institute and Melanoma Institute Australia, said the lamps had the same type of long-wave ultraviolet radiation which promoted tanning.

He described the UV lamps as ”mini tanning beds”. Tanning beds were recently banned by the NSW government.

Professor Mann, the lead author of a major study last year into melanoma and tanning beds, said more research into the nail lamps was required to assess the risk.

”I suspect it is a concern,” he said. ”It’s hard to know exactly how much extra risk it would produce but I am sure it produces some. There’s not been much research done to link up the use of these nail ovens with skin cancer, although it’s definitely something worth exploring.”

The ban on tanning beds will come into effect in 2014, after public health concerns about their link to skin cancer.

A 2009 study from the University of Texas Medical School, published in the Archives of Dermatology, raised questions about UV exposure from nail lamps, used to ”cure” gel and shellac nails.

The study was based on the experiences of two women, both regular long-term users of UV nail lamps, who had developed skin cancers on their fingers. But it noted the radiation emitted from UV nail lamps was much less than from a tanning bed.

UV nail lamps use either a nine-watt globe or a 36-watt globe, used on about 2 per cent of the skin surface of area. Commercial tanning beds can produce up to 1200 watts of power, used on 100 per cent of body surface area.

An Australian distributor of UV nail lamps, Eve Pawlowski, manager of Capital Salon Supplies, said radiation exposure from the lamps was minimal.

”You only put your nails under them for two minutes, maximum,” she said. ”Most clients would probably only have their nails done every four weeks or so, so they don’t get much exposure at all.”

She said UV nail lamps were being phased out in favour of more effective LED nail lamps, which could dry nails faster.

A spokeswoman for Cancer Council NSW, Gina Murphy, said more research needed to be done into the UV lamps before making any recommendations.



Fat-Reduction Study Finds No Effect on Skin Cancer Incidence

Here is the report from the recent meeting in the USA:


March 23, 2012 (San Diego, California) — Contrary to expectations, a reduction in dietary fat was not associated with a decreased risk for skin cancer, researchers reported here at the American Academy of Dermatology 70th Annual Meeting.

“Our findings were unexpected as they contradicted our hypothesis that a low-fat diet would decrease the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer [NMSC] and melanoma, which we did not see in the overall analysis,” presenter Christina Gamba, a fourth-year medical student at Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, told Medscape Medical News.

However, a subanalysis of the findings suggests that an even lower fat intake than was studied might indeed be protective.

“We did see a small signal in the women with a healthier baseline diet who were assigned to a low-fat diet,” she said.


See for the rest of the report

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Survival rates with early melanoma

Hi all

There are some upcoming articles in Journal of Clinical Oncology that are very interesting in terms of thin melanoma prognosis. Is everyone aware of the website: for calculating prognosis of melanoma?

One  needs medline access for the main article from Queensland:

but the proposed editorial is currently available:




Retinol supplementation reduces melanoma risk in women

Just when you thought you knew all about Vitamin d, along comes Vitamin A……

From the Huffington post and many other reputable journals last week – see the actual abstract below




Taking daily vitamin A supplements could protect against deadly melanoma skin cancer, scientists claim.

According to researchers from the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, a compound found in vitamin A, (Retinol), is vital for protecting against skin cancer.

Retinol is part of a family of chemical compounds known as retinoids and penetrates the outer layers of the skin and repairs damage to the lower layers, where collagen and elastin are found.

Acid found in Retinol, encourages skin cells to function normally and increases regular cell renewal. It is also widely praised for its anti-ageing properties.

Expert dermatologists analysed the skin cancer risk in 69,635 men and women aged between 50 and 76 who took a daily vitamin A supplement, either through a pill form or as food supplements.

Researchers discovered that those who took the supplements, in particular retinol, were 60% less likely to develop melanoma skin cancer, the deadliest form, than those who took no supplements. Participants who took higher does of more than 1,200mg a day, increased their prevention against the cancer by 74%.

Interestingly, researchers found no link between foods containing vitamin A (like eggs, liver and milk) and a reduced risk of skin cancer, as well as another powerful compound that the body turns into vitamin A (carotenoids).

Carotenoids, commonly found in bright coloured vegetables like carrots and tomatoes, are said to improve the immune system and contain powerful antioxidants.

Researchers discovered that vitamin A retinol supplements had the biggest impact on women.

Dr. Maryam Asgari, a dermatologist from the study, said, as reported on the Daily Mail: “Our data suggests a possible interaction between supplemental retinol use and the anatomic site of melanoma, with sun-exposed sites showing a stronger protective effect than sun-protected sites.”

However, a leading cancer charity has warned people against bulk buying retinol supplements.

Claire Knight, senior health information officer at Cancer Research UK, told The Huffington Post: “We don’t recommend people start taking retinol supplements based on this study, particularly as high doses can be toxic.

“The result was based on a very small number of people with melanoma, and the authors didn’t account for other important factors that influence the risk of skin cancer, such as the number of moles a person has.

“And crucially, when the authors looked at whether a particular dose was linked to risk, the link between retinol and melanoma disappeared.

“The good news is that you can reduce the risk of skin cancer by enjoying the sun safely – use shade, clothing and at least SPF 15 sunscreen to help protect your skin from sunburn.”



J Invest Dermatol. 2012 Mar 1. doi: 10.1038/jid.2012.21. [Epub ahead of print]

Association of Vitamin A and Carotenoid Intake with Melanoma Risk in a Large Prospective Cohort.


1] Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, California, USA [2] Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.


Laboratory data suggest that intake of vitamin A and carotenoids may have chemopreventive benefits against melanoma, but epidemiological studies examining the association have yielded conflicting results. We examined whether dietary and supplemental vitamin A and carotenoid intake was associated with melanoma risk among 69,635 men and women who were participants of the VITamins And Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort study in western Washington. After an average of 5.84 years of follow-up, 566 incident melanomas were identified. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for risk of melanoma associated with dietary, supplemental, and total vitamin A and carotenoid intake after adjusting for melanoma risk factors. Baseline use of individual retinol supplements was associated with a significant reduction in melanoma risk (HR: 0.60; 95% CI: 0.41-0.89). High-dose (>1,200 μg per day) supplemental retinol was also associated with reduced melanoma risk (HR: 0.74; 95% CI: 0.55-1.00), as compared with non-users. The reduction in melanoma risk was stronger in sun-exposed anatomic sites. There was no association of melanoma risk with dietary or total intake of vitamin A or carotenoids. Retinol supplementation may have a preventative role in melanoma among women.Journal of Investigative Dermatology advance online publication, 1 March 2012; doi:10.1038/jid.2012.21.

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Vitamin D shrinks fibroid tumors in rats

Vitamin D shrinks fibroid tumors in rats.

Another benefit of Vitamin D

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