Sunglasses? Check. Bikini? Check. Rubber ring? Check. Broccoli? Ch...what?!
It might make you look like a bit of a weirdo around the pool but broccoli - when rubbed directly onto the skin - is believed to reduce the risk of skin cancer.
According to researchers, the key cancer-preventing compound in broccoli is sulforaphane, crucial in blocking pathways that cause cancer and in protecting tissue from chemotherapy drugs.
"Sulforaphane may be an excellent candidate for use in the prevention of skin cancer caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays," said study author Sally Dickinson, research assistant professor in the Pharmacology Department of the University of Arizona Cancer Centre.
"It is the kind of compound that has so many incredible theoretical applications if the dosage is measured properly. We already know that it is very effective in blocking sunburns and we have seen cases where it can induce protective enzymes in the skin."
There are two types of skin cancer: non-melanoma (a common cancer that slowly develops in the upper layers of the skin) and melanoma (an aggressive cancer than begins in the skin - often identified by changing appearance/texture of the skin - and spreads quickly, sometimes to other organs).
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According to the NHS, non-melanoma skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the world. There are an estimated 100,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer every year in the UK.
Melanoma is relatively rare, but it is becoming more common. There are currently almost 13,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the UK.
“Even though there is heightened awareness about the need for limited sun exposure and use of sunscreens, we’re still seeing far too many cases of skin cancer each year,” Dr. Dickinson said. “We’re searching for better methods to prevent skin cancer in formats that are affordable and manageable for public use. Sulforaphane may be an excellent candidate for use in the prevention of skin cancer caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays.”
Researchers believe that their broccoli discovery could lead to a reduction in the number of skin cancer cases.