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Vitamin D deficiency boosts pancreatic cancer risk

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Saturday Feb 27, 2016 (foodconsumer.org) -- Pancreatic cancer is highly deadly and any preventative that can lower the cancer risk is highly desired.    A new study suggests getting enough exposure to the sun to maintain high levels of serum vitamin D or taking vitamin D supplements may lower the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Cohort studies have already shown that vitamin D deficiency was linked to a variety of cancers including pancreatic cancer.   Dr. Cedric F. Garland at University of California at La Jolla, California and colleagues conducted the current study and found more evidence to suggest that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer.

The study showed the incidence rates of pancreatic cancer in countries with low ultraviolet ray B (UVB) irradiance were six times as high as the incidence rates in countries with high UVB irradiance.  Low UVB irradiance means low levels of serum vitamin D.    The inverse association was still highly significant even after adjustment for traditional risk factors.

Additionally, the study found a similar inverse association between the rate of vitamin D deficiency in countries where UVB irradiance was lower and the incidence of pancreatic cancer.

Vitamin D deficiency has been associated in numerous studies with high risk for up to 17 types of cancers.  The study provides more evidence to suggest vitamin D deficiency can be a risk factor for pancreatic cancer.    (David Liu)

Cedric F. Garland, Raphael E. Cuomob , Edward D. Gorham, Kenneth Zeng, Sharif B. Mohr, Cloud cover-adjusted ultraviolet B irradiance and pancreatic cancer incidence in 172 countries, The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Volume 155, Part B, January 2016, Pages 257–263

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