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Sunshine vitamin boost for cancer care?

Sunshine could be a key therapy for patients with bowel cancer, researchers have revealed.

This is because sunshine generates vitamin D – and it massively improves survival chances from the disease, according to the Edinburgh University researchers.

The new study shows that patients with bowel cancer with high levels of vitamin D have half the chance of dying compared with those with the lowest levels.

The vitamin was linked to the greatest survival chances when the disease had not spread from the original tumour – stage 2 of the disease.

The study of some 1,600 patients showed that 75% of patients with the highest levels of vitamin D lived for at least five years.

This applied to fewer than two thirds of those with low levels.

Researcher Professor Malcolm Dunlop said: “Our findings are promising but it is important to note that this is an observational study.

“We need carefully designed randomised clinical trials before we can confirm whether taking vitamin D supplements offers any survival benefit for bowel cancer patients.”

L. Zgaga et al. Plasma Vitamin D Concentration Influences Survival Outcome After a Diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology 7 July 2014.

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