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The Role of Vitamin D in Cancer Prevention

Vitamin D status differs by latitude and race, with residents of the northeastern United States and individuals with more skin pigmentation being at increased risk of deficiency. A PubMed database search yielded 63 observational studies of vitamin D status in relation to cancer risk, including 30 of colon, 13 of breast, 26 of prostate, and 7 of ovarian cancer, and several that assessed the association of vitamin D receptor genotype with cancer risk.

The majority of studies found a protective relationship between sufficient vitamin D status and lower risk of cancer. The evidence suggests that efforts to improve vitamin D status, for example by vitamin D supplementation, could reduce cancer incidence and mortality at low cost, with few or no adverse effects.

Published on 10-30-2009
Authors: Cedric F. Garland, DrPH, Frank C. Garland, PhD, Edward D. Gorham, PhD, MPH, Martin Lipkin, MD, Harold Newmark, ScD, Sharif B. Mohr, MPH and Michael F. Holick, MD, PhD
Source: American Journal of Public Health 252-261