Although doctors warn us against too much sun exposure because it can increase the risk of developing skin cancer, according to a new study, lack of vitamin D is linked to an increase risk of a different form of cancer, cancer of the pancreas.
According to Medical Daily, this is the first study to that finds a link between vitamin D deficiency and pancreatic cancer.
The study was conducted by a research team from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
For their study, the scientists collected data belonging to patients from 107 countries and discovered that those who were exposed to sun the least also had the highest rate of having pancreatic cancer.
Cedric F. Garland, professor at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center and one of the researchers who conducted the study, explained that those who live at a high latitude or where the sky is very cloudy and doesn’t allow too much sunlight, cannot get too much vitamin D during the year. This can lead to a higher than normal risk of developing pancreatic cancer, according to the researchers’ findings.
Professor Garland added that people who live in sunnier countries, like those near the equator, are less likely to develop this type of cancer, compared to those who live in countries that are far from the equator.
Garland said that sunlight is very important in providing vitamin D and the new study suggests that a deficiency of this vitamin could contribute to the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
Although the study suggests this, the researchers said that it has not yet been scientifically proven because further research is needed for any conclusion regarding vitamin D deficiency and pancreatic cancer.
In analyzing the data for the study, the scientists also took into consideration other factors that could lead to the development of pancreatic cancer. These factors include smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity.
Garland said that even though these factors are known to contribute to the risk of cancer, there was still a connection between lack of sunlight and pancreatic cancer.
According to recent reports conducted by the American Cancer Society, pancreatic cancer is accounts for approximately 3% of all types of cancers in the United States. Also, this type of cancer is responsible for about 7% of all cancer deaths.
Because in the early stages pancreatic cancer does not show any symptoms, by the time the patient starts to experience them, the cancer has already spread into the body.
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