The incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer is increasing every year (Payette, Whalen & Grant-Kels, 2010). Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the two major types of non-melanoma skin cancer (Payette, Whalen & Grant-Kels, 2010). In a recent study, researchers from Baylor College of Medicine, Texas, assessed the potential of omega 3 fatty acids in the prevention of non-melanoma skin cancer (Black & Rhodes, 2006). In this study, 26 subjects were randomised into 2 groups, one group received a combination of 4 grams of EPA (2.8 grams) and DHA (1.2 grams) daily, while the other group received a gelatin placebo. After four weeks of treatment there was a significant increase in sun protection factor (SPF). Sun protection factor is a number scale for rating the degree of protection provided by sunscreens. It was established that the SPF reported, using omega 3 fatty acids, if provided over a lifetime, could reduce skin cancer incidence by as much as 30 percent.
Black, H.S. & Rhodes, L.E. 2006. The potential of omega-3 fatty acids in the prevention of non-melanoma skin cancer. Cancer Detection Prevention, 30, 3, 224-232.
Payette, M.J., Whalen, J. & Grant-Kels, J.M. 2010. Nutrition and non-melanoma skin cancers. Clinics in Dermatology, 28, 650-662.