Posted on Jul 14, 2011, 6 a.m.
Women who take supplements of vitamin D and calcium may be at a reduced risk of developing skin cancer.
Recently, a number of studies have suggested a link between increased vitamin D levels and lower risks of certain cancers. As well, in that calcium plays a role in the body’s conversion of vitamin D to its biologically active form, a growing body of evidence suggests a preventative role relating to cancer, for the combination of vitamin D and calcium. Jean Y. Tang, from Stanford University School of Medicine (California, USA), an d colleagues investigated non-melanoma skin cancer -- such as basal cell or squamous cell cancers -- the most common forms of skin cancer, as people with this generally non-fatal disease are more likely to develop the more lethal illness — melanoma. The team analyzed data from the Women's Health Initiative, which involved 36,282 postmenopausal women who received either 400 international units of vitamin D and 1,000 milligrams of calcium carbonate per day, or placebo. Those subjects who received the supplement combination had a 50% reduction in the risk of developing melanoma in women at high risk of developing the disease, leading the researchers to encourage that their findings “[suggest] a potential role for calcium and vitamin D supplements in this high-risk group.”
Jean Y. Tang, Teresa Fu, Erin LeBlanc, JoAnn E. Manson, David Feldman, Eleni Linos, et al. “Calcium Plus Vitamin D Supplementation and the Risk of Nonmelanoma and Melanoma Skin Cancer: Post Hoc Analyses of the Women's Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Trial.” J Clin Oncology, Jun 27, 2011.