Answer: Wow, this is such an important question-and given that its Breast Cancer Awareness Month, its the perfect time to answer it. According to Dr Albert Lefkovits who is associaed with the Mount Sinai Schoo of Medicine, Department of Dermatology, there are no reports in the medical and scientific literature that point to a link between breast cancer and Retin A. In fact Retin A is well known for its ability to normalize skin cell growth and life span. Actually about ten years ago there were clinical trials to see if Retin A would inhibit breast cancer growth. That didn’t appear to be successful, but it certainly does not appear likely it would provoke breast cancer recurrence.
However the oral form of Retin A called Accutane has been cited as a pulmonary irritant and one doctor reported an increase in lung cancer in patients using the medication. Since the large Nurses Health Study showed that high doses of vitamin A supplements increased several health issues there may be concerns that any form of Retin A, may be a risk for some cancers. In fact another trial with beta carotene (which is another form of vitamin A) had to be halted bcause there was an increse in deaths from both lung cancer and heart disease in the study group.
Given the history of different types of vitamin A and cancers, I would definately ask the physician who treated you for breast cancer for their advice and recommendations. If you still feel uncomfortable about using Retin A, a program of vitamin C serum, glycolic acid peels and a good suscreen will provide excellent anti-wrinkle benefits. Whatever skin care program you choose be sure to avoid those creams with estrogens which have been shown to increase cancer risk.