Diabetes medication can reduce skin cancer risk

7 Nov

Basal cell carcinoma and diabetes are both common conditions. A recent study has discovered that treating diabetes may also prevent basal cell carcinoma.

The study examined nearly 7000 people with a diagnosis of skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma) and nearly 70,000 others. The authors discovered that:

  • people taking metformin, even at very low doses, were about 30% less likely to develop basal cell carcinoma
  • there was no effect on the frequency of squamous cell carcinoma as a whole, and those who developed squamous cell carcinoma were more likely to have the less serious in situ type.

The study did not specifically examine whether metformin can be used effectively in people with a history of multiple basal cell carcinomas to prevent future BCCs from occurring, and they suggest that further studies should examine this.

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  • Adalsteinsson J, Muzumdar S, Waldman R et al
    Metformin is associated with decreased risk of basal cell carcinoma: A whole-population case-control study from Iceland
    Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, volume 85, issue 1, pages 56-61, 1 July 2021