Metformin didn't protect me - basal cell carcinoma skin cancer

I was diagnosed with a basal cell carcinoma skin cancer (the non-serious type) on my face this morning. I have been taking metformin for years and thought it had an anti-cancer effect, so I’m disappointed that it obviously hasn’t protected me. I took rapamycin for a total of 7 weeks last year too, until, coincidentally or not, I had a reactive lymph node swelling, which worried me so I stopped. I had the skin cancer spot during that time, so the rapamycin obviously didn’t protect me either. I’d be interested to hear anyone’s comments? Thanks


The only thing that comes to mind re rapamycin is that you were taking it for a very short period of time to expect cancer-preventive results. That type of skin cancer takes long time to develop and most likely it started long before you started using rapamycin. Did your lymph node resolve?


Good luck with that. Glad you caught it.


Sorry to hear that.

Here’s an article on metformin and skin cancer. It looks like metformin was associated with reduced risk of developing basal cell carcinoma with an odds ratio of 0.71, meaning someone taking metformin would have 30% lower odds of getting BCC. Unfortunately it isn’t bulletproof.


Have you used sunscreen with high SPF rating?

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Basal Cell Carcinoma is common with age and generally is present for some time before diagnosis in most cases. As pointed out, UV exposure over time is the major risk factor, as is age.

There are 3 issues here:
#1 Everything has to do with relative risk reduction - nothing will eliminate your risk of any given condition … for example ~10% of lung cancers occur in people who didn’t smoke or have any clear toxic exposure. So not smoking or getting radon exposure has a huge relative risk reduction in your likelihood of getting lung cancer - but doesn’t eliminate this.
#2 Metformin and Rapamycin will do nothing, but likely slow progression of a cancer that is already present (probably more so Rapamycin). Rapamycin might decrease your risk of getting one in the first place due to improving your T cell immunity and having your body better surveil and clean up cancers before they become clinically apparent.
#3 7 weeks of Rapamycin isn’t really likely to do anything much when we are looking at lifelong issues that one would want to be preventing, reversing or delaying progression.

Medications/Supplements including Rapamycin which seems to be a very sensible choice for most middle aged or older adults is just one component of the strategy to increase healthspan. Quite importantly in this situation, a Basal Cell Carcinoma is an annoying condition, but is generally local disease and easily remedied.

These comments are my general opinion as a physician and are not meant to provide medical advice to any specific individual, but an overall context to this particular discussion.


Thank you very much for your response. Much appreciated. I am more afraid now that the BCC indicates a higher risk for any cancer. So I am keen to resume rapamycin. I stopped taking rapamycin because a reactive lymph node in my neck arose around the same time and it worried me. I have no idea if it was linked, but I need to find someone in the UK who can advise me. If you know of anyone, please could you let me know? Thank you.

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I have only myself to blame. I have never used suntan lotion in my life, and spent 4 months driving around Spain in a sports car without a roof in the blaring sunshine two years ago. Being dark haired I thought I was OK. I’m beating myself up now.

The lymph node seems to have gone down so that I can barely feel it. I wish there was someone in the UK who I could talk to about the lymph node and rapamycin.

Do you mean it takes a long time before it appears on the face?

Thanks. It was on my face for around 2 years and I thought it was just an age spot so did nothing until my doctor saw it on an unrelated visit.

Hi Alex,

I can give general information online, but not specific to anyone. I’m licensed in AU and US but not UK.

In general, I’d not see a link to a reactive node and rapamycin use. Just because 2 things occur in the same time frame, it doesn’t mean one caused the other … this is however, a pretty natural conclusion for many people.

The good news, is basal cell carcinoma is easily treated in most cases and is more of an indication of skin damage than general aging. I suspect a lot of bike riders or outside enthusiasts who spend lots of time outside have skin with lots of aging. However internally they are very healthy and I’d not think one leads to the other, as the mechanisms of the cancers that you’d be most worried about are different (with the exception of melanoma - which I think you’ll properly be surveilled for given that you’ve had a single skin cancer).

Your GP should be able to advise you on all this in detail.


Thank you for the article. I’ll read it now.

Old wives tale here ( not medical advice) . Do the following: buy organic grinder, and organic garlic.
Get about 10 OZ of warm filtered water. Grind about one Oz of organic garlic and one OZ of organic ginger and add to the warm water. Take table spoon of glycine, and a spoonful of NAC, plus one spoonful of L-lysine and mix them all into the warm water. Add 1-2 OZ of alcohol into the mix and apply it often during the day. You may also want to add few drops of organic teatree oil also. Try it you’ve got nothing to lose. Let us know if it did anything and good luck. Of course seek medical help at the same time.
Btw, I’d leave this out of fridge in room temperature. A bit fermenting if it happens is probably helpful

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It is quite a common cancer and I am sure the doctors will know what to do. Many people do not use sunscreen and have sun exposure (not using sun hat etc).

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A quote from rivasp12:

Does rapamycin Prevent cancer in humans?

It’s already been mentioned that it may prevent the benign basal cell skin cancer, but again at transplant doses.

LaraPo would be able to say how many mg is transplant dosage.

That means high daily doses. Low dose intermittent fasting typical for longevity, hardly qualifies as cancer prevention.


Transplant doses vary much from patient to patient. All depends on how transplant works. I’m prescribed 1mg per day because all my biomarkers are very good. I take it intermittently though with many breaks.

A few years ago I developed an acne looking and not healing pimple on top of my head. My nephrologist told me that it could be cancer (because of rapamycin). However biopsy showed that it was acne, which is also typical for rapamycin. To get rid of the pimple I took a long break from rapamycin. The pimple healed very quickly after that. Since then I take rapamycin only intermittently. Never have any side effects.

I also noticed that all my biomarkers (kidney panel, lipid panel, cbc with differential, comprehensive metabolic panel) are better when measured during a break from rapamycin. Rapamycin makes all go the wrong direction :blush:


Both of my parents had basal cell skin carcinomas and both had them successfully removed using the MOHS treatment. Fortunately, this is the easiest cancer to get rid of and the least serious. I wish you well and be confident that your doctor or hospital will be able to successfully remove it. Be on the lookout for any more basal cell carcinomas, because they usually don’t appear just once.

About 3.5 years ago I developed several basal cell carcinomas after two years of pretty regular rapamycin, at doses between 6-8 mgs per week. I too was concerned that rapamycin might have played a role, especially after reading a post on a (different) forum by a doctor who reported that skin cancers were common among transplant patients taking rapamycin. But who knows?
These appeared at age 61, and after a youth spent outdoors in the blazing California sun. Both of my parents also had basal cell carcinomas. But it spooked me, and I now take a lower dose and usually at intervals of 14-21 days in order to avoid too much immunosuppression.


I think the period between dosing is the key thing. If you halve the dose that sort of adds 60 hours per dose of less immune suppression. If you reduce the frequency from say weekly to 14 or 21 days you reenable the immune system to a greater extent and for longer.

I have anecdotal evidence that citrate may be of use wirh some cancer.

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