Statistics show that you have a 20 percent chance of developing a non-melanoma skin cancer over the course of your lifetime, leaving you with an ugly growth or even an open, oozing sore on the skin of your face, hands, arms or legs.
In fact, this form of skin cancer is the most common form of all cancers, with over 5.4 million cases in the U.S. each year.
That’s more than the incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon combined.
While this type of skin cancer has a good prognosis and high survival rate when detected early, it can still leave you disfigured and lead to a whole host of other complications.
Some non-melanoma cancers can grow wide and deep, affecting both your skin and bone and cause ulcerations that lead to chronic wounds.
Others can even damage your nerves and affect your vision.
Signs of this type of cancer include:
- A rounded, pink, or skin-colored growth with visible blood vessels or brown or black spots, which may sink in the center like a crater and ooze, become crusty or bleed easily
- A shiny pink or red and scaly growth, which may look like an eczema patch
- A waxy, hard, pale growth, which may resemble a scar with no definitive edges
- A sore that doesn’t heal
- A mole that has changed in appearance
- A flattened, reddish scaly patch
- A small, rough patch of skin
- A painful or itchy growth
- A dry, scaly patch on the lips
The usual answer to treatment once you’ve developed one of these cancers is surgery, radiation, using an electrical to scrape away the tumor or even topical chemotherapy creams.
Considering that these all bear risks, everything from skin rashes and irritation to pain, scarring, changes to the color of your skin and even infections, the best course is to focus on prevention.
The good news is that since 90 percent of these cancers are thought to be caused by U.V. exposure due to sunlight, it’s estimated that daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing these disfiguring cancers by approximately 40 percent.
And, now new research has provided one more tool to prevent these cancers — a simple fruit that could cut your risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancers by up to 50 percent.
Researchers at Ohio State University found that male mice fed a diet of 10 percent tomato powder daily for 35 weeks, then exposed to ultraviolet light, experienced, on average, a 50 percent decrease in skin cancer tumors compared to mice that ate no dehydrated tomato.
This research was building on previous human trials that showed that eating tomato paste prior to sunlight exposure helped to prevent sunburns.
The scientists believe that this is thanks to the lycopene, a carotenoid and powerful antioxidant, found in high concentrations in the red fruit.
However, the researchers warned that taking a lycopene supplement alone seemed to be less effective than eating the whole fruit, suggesting that other nutrients found in tomatoes may work in tandem with the lycopene to give it it’s skin-protecting power.
Eating tomatoes for skin cancer prevention
So, if you’re ready to harness the power of tomatoes to prevent skin cancer, here are 9 easy ways to add the fruit to your daily diet:
- Make your own salsa to spice up your meals.
- Start a homemade soup with stewed tomatoes as the base.
- Top thick slices of tomatoes with basil, feta and Greek dressing to serve as an appetizer.
- Add them to your next omelet with some spinach and mushrooms to start your day off right.
- Use cherry tomatoes to top your salad.
- Switch out those creamy sauces in your pasta dishes for tomato-based choices instead.
- Stuff them with meat, rice, and any of these five powerful spices that combat cancer then bake in the oven
- Cut in half then grill with basil, garlic and olive oil for a great side.
- Try Margaret Cantwell’s favorite cancer-fighting dish — sofrito.
- Make your own juice by peeling two ripe tomatoes and blending with four basil leaves, five sprigs of parsley, a tablespoon of water, a pinch of salt, the juice of ½ of a lemon and a stalk of celery.
Related: Summer’s cancer-fighting superfood
However you decide to add tomatoes to your diet, you’re sure to reap its skin-protecting benefits by preventing the damage caused by U.V. radiation and the skin cancer it leads to.
Editor’s note: As you’ve just read, potent natural cancer fighters exist in nature, but if you wait for them to go from lab to pharmacy it could be too late. Dr. Michael Cutler lists more natural ways to avoid and beat cancer, including the best minerals, herbs, supplements, foods and proven therapies allowed in other countries — but denied to you by American mainstream medicine — all in his comprehensive cancer guide, Surviving Cancer! To get your copy today — plus 3 FREE reports — click here!
- Skin Cancer Facts & Statistics — The Skin Cancer Foundation
- Precancerous Skin Lesions and Skin Cancer Slideshow — WebMD
- Treatments for non-melanoma skin cancer — Canadian Cancer Society
- Surgery for non-melanoma skin cancer — Canadian Cancer Society
- Tomatoes protect against development of UV-induced keratinocyte carcinoma via metabolomic alterations — Scientific Reports
- Diet rich in tomatoes cuts skin cancer in half in mice — The Ohio State University