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Treating Basal Cell Carcinoma

Robert Rister

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Basal cell carcinoma is the most common cancer, but it's also the most easily treatable. Simple procedures that can be done in a doctor's office are usually sufficient, but there are also measures you can take at home to prevent recurrences.

The most important nutrients for preventing basal cell carcinoma are antioxidants, principally n-acetyl cysteine (NAC), selenium, and vitamins C and E. NAC works synergistically with vitamins C and E to protect the “watchdog" gene p53 that keeps skin cells with damaged DNA from continuing to grow and multiply. Selenium and vitamin E help the skin make the “super-antioxidant" glutathione, and another antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid, will help keep glutathione from being broken down in the liver. Alpha-lipoic acid is especially important for people who work or exercise outdoors.

Should antioxidants be used “in" or “on?" I recommend both, for nearly everyone. Men who take Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis may find that supplemental NAC taken by mouth causes headaches when the erection drug “kicks in. " Smokers and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) sometimes get a bad reaction to NAC, too. If your doctor or pharmacist tells you that you should not eat grapefruit, then you should not take vitamin C with bioflavonoids for the same reasons, but “straight" vitamin C should be OK for you.

It's not necessary to megadose. As little as 100 mg a day of alpha-lipoic acid or Vitamin C, 100 micrograms of selenium, 200 IU of vitamin E, and 200 mg of NAC every day can protect the skin, although more is better. If you take more than 100 mg of alpha-lipoic acid daily, make sure you are getting biotin, either from a complete B vitamin supplement (B-100) or biotin capsules. Selenium is absorbed better if it is not taken at the same time as vitamin C.

What else can you do to relieve and prevent basal carcinoma? Number one, wear sunscreen. The recommendation used to be to use at least SPF-15 on sun-exposed skin in the summer. Now more doctors tell their patients to use a stronger (higher number) sun screen any time of year.


  • Don't try to “rub off" basal cell carcinomas. The cancer will remain, but you will have inflamed, itchy, bleeding skin.
  • If you must tan, do so gradually, starting at 15 minutes a day, max. Work up to greater exposure, but only if there is no damage, not even slight damage, to your skin. Basal cell carcinoma tends to be more virulent among people who get most of the tanning from tanning beds.
  • Most importantly, if you have ever had basal cell carcinoma, or any other form of skin cancer, see a doctor every six months. Early treatment is always best.
  • Read Recognizing Basal Cell Carcinoma. Robert Rister is the author or co-author of nine books on natural health.


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