Melanoma Risk in Some Women May Be Reduced by Taking Calcium and Vitamin D.

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A study reported online in the June 27 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology concluded that a combination of calcium and vitamin D may cut the risk of melanoma by over 50% in some women who are high risk. Women at most risk of developing melanoma are those who have previously had a non-melanoma form of skin cancer (basal cell, squamous cell). The researchers believed that cancer cells might be present in women who had previously had non-melanoma waiting to develop into melanoma but if they took calcium and vitamin D the risk might be reduced. In the study 36,282 postmenopausal women between age 50 and 79 who were part of the Women’s Health Initiative study were studied. Women were given 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D daily. Over 7 years of follow-up women taking the supplements who had had previous non-melanoma reduced their risk of developing melanoma by 57 percent compared to similar women who did not take the supplements. The melanoma risk reduction was not seen among women who had not had earlier non-melanoma skin cancer. The researchers plan further research in which cancer cells will be exposed directly to calcium and vitamin D.

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