Does Vitamin D Increase Risk of Skin Cancer?
A group of researchers conducted a new study which shows a possible link between high levels of vitamin D and skin cancer. The study was conducted by Melody J. Eide of the Henry Ford Hospital of Detroit and several of her colleagues. Their study involved looking at 3,223 white subjects who were at high risk of developing skin cancer.
The subjects had all asked for advice pertaining to the development of osteoporosis 10 to 15 years before the study was conducted. Therefore, their serum was on file, showing they would make great subjects in the study. The team decided to look for a correlation between vitamin D and skin cancer.
After selecting the patients for the study, Eide and her colleagues divided them up into separate groups. They were categorized based on their 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, which signified how well their bodies brought in and stored vitamin D. Those in the lower 25% were not at nearly as high a risk of developing nonmelanoma skin cancer than those in the upper 25% of the study.
The study had a lower margin or error because it involved looking at patients’ long-term medical records. Jennifer Stein of the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center said that it was better to rely on medical records than patients’ memories.
The researchers also used the HMO database to search for instances where patients were diagnosed with problems associated with basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. The patients they studied received follow up appointments over an average of 10 year years. They found 240 patients with nonmelanoma skin cancer. They also found another 212 who suffered from either squamous or basal cell squamous.
Four out of five of the subjects developed the cancer in areas that were regularly exposed to sunlight. This showed there was a high probability that sunlight was a precursor to skin cancer.
While the study highlights the obvious link between exposure to sunlight and skin cancer, the effects of vitamin D need to be studied in more detail. The authors actually claimed the linkage between vitamin D levels and skin cancer was inconsistent. They reported the findings with the argument that more research was needed to understand the relationship in more detail.
Dr. Stein says that patients who take vitamin D supplements should not stop doing so solely on the findings of this study. She says that people need vitamin D to stay healthy. Stein says it makes a lot more sense to get vitamin D from a healthy diet than from sunlight. Although the correlation between sunlight and skin cancer is pretty clear, the relationship between vitamin D and skin cancer is not.
The study Eide and her fellow researchers came up with may help a lot of people fight skin cancer in the future. The most important thing is to remember the dangers associated with spending too much time in the sun. Whether or not vitamin D leads to skin cancer has not been fully determined. The link between UV rays and skin cancer has been clear for many years.