Vitamin D deficiency is epidemic affecting some 1 billion people worldwide and is mainly caused by chronically inadequate sun exposure. This deficiency is associated with harmful effects on almost all tissues including a predisposition to cancer. In cancer patients vitamin D deficiency is associated with a worsening of the prognosis. A growing amount of research suggests that vitamin D may be beneficial to cancer patients. In addition, laboratory, ecologic, and epidemiologic studies have shown some evidence that higher levels of vitamin D might lower the risk for colon, breast, endometrial, and prostate cancers. Several observational studies and a few prospectively randomized controlled trials have demonstrated that adequate levels of vitamin D can decrease the risk and improve survival rates for several types of cancers including breast, rectum, ovary, prostate, stomach, bladder, esophagus, kidney, lung, pancreas, uterus, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.
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