Recent research has indicated that higher levels of vitamin D may help reduce the severity of skin melanomas – findings which Australia, with its high levels of skin cancer, should take note of.

Study co-author Dr Julia Newton-Bishop, a dermatology professor at the University of Leeds in the UK, said ‘Although avoiding sunburn is very important in order to prevent melanoma, it is also important to avoid becoming deficient in vitamin D. This is especially important for melanoma patients in whom low vitamin D levels appear to be harmful’.

The medical records of 872 people with melanoma were studied by the researchers, who then attempted to identify a relationship between levels of vitamin D, severity of lesions and the chances of surviving without a relapse. Higher levels of vitamin D in the body were associated with less severe (thinner) lesions and a lower relapse rate.

Newton-Bishop commented, ‘The research suggests that low levels of vitamin D allow the melanoma tumours to grow better and, therefore, to be more of a threat to the patient’.

Source: Journal of Clinical Oncology