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Higher Vitamin D Boost Cancer Survival Rates

Update Date: Apr 29, 2014 08:32 PM EDT

Vitamin D may boost survival rates in cancer patients, according to a new study.

Researchers discovered having higher levels of vitamin D increases survival and remission rates of cancer patients.

"By reviewing studies that collectively examined vitamin D levels in 17,332 cancer patients, our analysis demonstrated that vitamin D levels are linked to better outcomes in several types of cancer," one of the study's authors, Hui Wang, MD, PhD, Professor of the Institute for Nutritional Sciences at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, China, said in a news release. "The results suggest vitamin D may influence the prognosis for people with breast cancer, colorectal cancer and lymphoma, in particular."

The latest research included data from 25 separate studies that measured vitamin D levels in cancer patients at the time of diagnosis and monitored survival rates.

Researchers noted that participants had their vitamin D levels measured before undergoing cancer treatment.

The findings revealed that linked a 10 nmol/L increase in vitamin D levels to a 4 percent boost in survival among cancer patients.

The strongest correlations were observed in breast cancer, lymphoma and colorectal cancer. However, vitamin D levels were found to be less beneficial for those with lung cancer, gastric cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, melanoma or Merkel cell carcinoma. However, levels of vitamin D still showed a positive correlation.

"Considering that vitamin D deficiency is a widespread issue all over the world, it is important to ensure that everyone has sufficient levels of this important nutrient," Wang said in a news release. "Physicians need to pay close attention to vitamin D levels in people who have been diagnosed with cancer."

The findings are published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

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