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Vitamin C deficiency in cancer patients deficiency in cancer patients *

Purpose: To assess the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency within a group of hospice patients. To assess the relationship between plasma vitamin C, dietary intake and subsequent survival.

 Methods: Patients with advanced cancer were recruited from a large hospice. Data were collected on demographic details, physical functioning and smoking history. An estimate was obtained of the number of weekly dietary portions consumed equivalent to 40 mg of vitamin C, the recommended daily intake. Plasma vitamin C was measured by a single blood sample. The study had local ethical approval.

 Results: Fifty patients were recruited (mean age 65.2 years, 28 female). Plasma vitamin C deficiency was found in 15 (30%). Dietary intake of vitamin C was correlated to plasma vitamin C (r=0.518, PB0.0001). Low dietary intake, low albumin, high platelet count, high CRP level and shorter survival were all significantly associated with low plasma vitamin C concentrations (B11 µmol/L). There was no correlation between plasma vitamin C, smoking history or physical functioning.

Conclusion: Vitamin C deficiency is common in patients with advanced cancer and the most important factors determining plasma levels are dietary intake and markers of the inflammatory response. Patients with low plasma concentrations of vitamin C have a shorter survival.

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 11-18-2007