Vitamin D is produced naturally by the body after exposure to sunlight and is also absorbed from certain foods. Its is needed to help the body absorb the calcium and phosphorous needed for health bones and also affects a number of biological processes in the body.
The study reviewed 17,332 cancer patients and found that the ones who had most vitamin D at the time of diagnosis had better prognosis particularly those with breast cancer, colorectal cancer and lymphoma.
The results were still positive, although less so, for lung, gastric and prostate cancers, leukaemia, melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma.
A slight increase in vitamin levels was related to a 4pc increase in survival rates among cancer patients
“Considering that vitamin D deficiency is a widespread issue all over the world, it is important to ensure that everyone has sufficient levels of this important nutrient,” said the researchers.
“Physicians need to pay close attention to vitamin D levels in people who have been diagnosed with cancer.”
The study is published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).