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Sun 'can boost survival hopes of cancer patients'
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Roman Bystrianyk
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Joined: 02 May 2005
Posts: 454

PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 2:58 pm    Post subject: Sun 'can boost survival hopes of cancer patients' Reply with quote

JENNY HOPE, "Sun 'can boost survival hopes of cancer patients'", Daily
Mail, July 2, 2006,
Link:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/healthmain.html?in_article_id=393659&in_page_id=1774&in_a_source=

Sunbathing could improve your chances of surviving cancer, doctors say.

Those diagnosed with the disease in summer and autumn live longer than
those diagnosed at other times of the year, British research shows.

This is probably because their vitamin D levels are topped up by sun
exposure.

Researchers say vitamin D can affect the rate of cell division in
tumour development and can trigger the self-destruction of cells
developing in the wrong way.

The study of more than one million patients suggests the season when
cancer is detected and treated could make a significant difference to
progress of the disease.

It says that diagnosis in the summer and autumn months is 'associated
with improved survival, especially in lung and breast cancer patients.

'We found sunlight exposure to be a predictor of cancer survival.

'Our results add to a growing body of evidence that vitamin D may play
an important role in cancer survival.'

The study, which is a fast track publication in the International
Journal of Cancer, looked at 590,000 men and 606,000 women diagnosed
between 1971 and 2002. Diagnoses made in summer and autumn - when blood
levels of vitamin D are highest - had the lowest risk of death.

Women with breast cancer had a 14 per cent lower risk of death, while
women with bowel cancer were 6 per cent less likely to die.

There was a reduction of 6 per cent in the death rate for all cancers
combined for both sexes when diagnosed in summer and autumn.

The study, which was led by Dr Henrik Moller, head of the Thames Cancer
Registry based at King's College London, analysed their season of
diagnosis, with summer and autumn defined as June 1 to November 30.

Intensity of light not measured

The researchers also obtained data on sunlight from the British
Meteorological Office and calculated levels of cumulative sunlight
hours for each season during the study period.

Their report says the results support the hypothesis that variation in
vitamin D levels through sunlight exposure lies behind the differences
in survival.

But it says data on sunlight hours probably underestimates the true
effect of exposure because it does not measure the intensity of light -
which is much stronger in summer and would have a more significant
impact on blood levels of vitamin D.

The findings come as evidence grows that vitamin D could play a vital
role in helping prevent disease, with sun exposure helping to top up
natural levels more effectively than through diet.

A study last year showed taking a large dose of vitamin D every day -
1,000 international units (IU) or 25mcg - could halve your chance of
developing cancers such as breast, ovarian, colon, and prostate.

Oliver Gillie, who runs Health Research Forum, a not-for-profit
organisation, published a report showing that topping up levels of
vitamin D could help prevent more than 25 chronic diseases.

He added: 'The research evidence shows Government advice to avoid
sunbathing is misguided. Tanning should properly be seen as a sign of
health, as indeed it is by most members of the public, although care
should be taken to avoid burning.'

Mr Gillie said cancer patients should get advice from their doctors
about whether they can safely sunbathe, as chemotherapy and
radiotherapy can sensitise the skin to sunlight.
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