Skin Cancer Risk and Vitamin D Levels

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A new study reported online in the Archives of Dermatology concluded that as individual’s vitamin D level increases their risk for nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) also seems to increase but factors such as untraviolet (UV) radiation exposure may complicate this relationship. The study was carried out among 3,223 white subjects in a health maintenance organization (HMO) with a high probability of developing NMSC, Between January 1997 and December 2001, subjects were assessed for levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (an indication of vitamin D levels), and parathyroid hormones, creatinine and calcium levels. Over 2/3 of the participants (n=2,257) seemed to have insufficient levels of vitamin D and the diagnoses of NMSC were made in 240 individuals including 49 with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), 163 individuals with basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and 28 individuals with both (all forms of NMSC). Individuals who were not deficient in vitamin D seemed to have an increase risk of developing NMSC and although this relationship was positive it was not statistically significant for tumors developing on body parts routinely exposed to UV radiation suh as arms and legs. More research is needed in this area of study.

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