Sun Exposure Reduces Pancreatic Cancer Risk
Although statistics may vary, most experts say about 95 % of people with pancreatic cancer will die from it. As one of the worst (not that any of them are ‘good’) cancers you can be diagnosed with, its best to be proactive and prevent it. A great way, that’s free is with some good ol’ sunshine.
The health benefits of vitamin D are almost becoming too numerous to count, with yet another new study presented at the recent American Association for Cancer Research Pancreatic Cancer Conference in Lake Tahoe, Nev., shedding light on the hormone’s specific anti-cancer benefits. According to the groundbreaking research, individuals exposed to natural sunlight, which is the most abundant source of natural vitamin D, are nearly 50 percent less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than others who are not exposed.
Dr. Rachel Neale, Ph.D., and her colleagues from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia, conducted a case-control study in which 704 patients with pancreatic cancer, and 709 healthy individuals with no history of pancreatic cancer, were evaluated based on blood serum levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D, the hormonal marker of vitamin D in the body. Each individual’s birth location, skin cancer history, skin cancer type, tanning ability, and predisposition to sunburn was also taken into account.
The team then used NASA’s Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer to assess each participant’s level of ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure to his or her birthplace, the data of which was used to place participants into various tertile groups for average UV radiation exposure. At the end of the day, researchers found that participants who lived in areas with the highest amount of sunlight exposure were 24 percent less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than individuals who lived in low sunlight areas.
Additionally, individuals with the most sun-sensitive skin, who are typically lighter-skinned individuals, were found to be roughly 50 percent less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than individuals with the least amount of sun sensitivity. Overall, there was a direct correlation between high sunlight exposure and low rates of pancreatic cancer in the study, a result that suggests vitamin D plays a critical role in pancreatic cancer prevention.
“High levels of vitamin D are associated with a lower risk of pancreatic cancer based on both observational studies of individuals and geographic studies of populations,” writes the Vitamin D Council on their website. “Based on studies of breast, colon, and rectal cancer, vitamin D levels above 40 ng/mL (100 nmol/L) reduce the risk of cancer. Thus, maintaining vitamin D blood levels above 40 ng/mL may reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer.”
The best way to obtain vitamin D is through natural sunlight exposure. A fair-skinned person can produce enough vitamin D from about 15 minutes of direct sunlight exposure during the peak summer months, while a darker-skinned person may need as much as an hour-and-a-half of sunlight exposure. Sunscreens are designed to block out the UV rays responsible for vitamin D production in the skin, so it is important notto wear sunscreen when trying to obtain vitamin D from the sun.
This does not mean stay in the sun without protection for too much of an extended period of time. Be smart, use some common sense; as they say ‘it’s all about moderation’.
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