DNC News

Season and Survival: cancer survival depends on season of diagnosis and vitamin D intake

Jacob Schor, ND

May 8, 2006

 

Subject: Vitamin D levels determine long term survival of cancer patients.

 

As cancer treatment becomes progressively more high tech and more expensive, it behooves us to not overlook the simple, inexpensive adjuncts to treatment that can improve outcomes. Research in recent years suggests that something as simple as getting more sun light or taking vitamin D-3 in supplement form might make a huge difference.

 

In October of 2005 Harvard researchers published work that showed survival of lung cancer patients varied with the time of year they first underwent surgery. Summer surgery improved 5-year survival from 40% to 50%. When information about dietary intake of Vitamin D was calculated into these figures the differences were more pronounced. Patients who had surgery during the summer with the highest vitamin D intake had a 5 year survival rate of 56% compared to 23% for those who had surgery in the winter and a low Vitamin D intake. [i]


A new study published on May 2, 2006 expands these observations by looking at other cancers. Researchers from King's College, London , writing in the International Journal of Cancer reported their analysis on data on cancers of the breast, colorectum, lung, and prostate

 

They used population-based data from the Thames Cancer Registry to analyze cancer survival 1 and 5 years after diagnosis. The analysis included season of diagnosis and sunlight exposure in the preceding months. They found substantial seasonality in cancer survival, with diagnosis in summer and autumn associated with improved survival compared with that in winter, especially in female breast cancer patients and both male and female lung cancer patients. [ii]

 

When these data are added to the already existing published work on vitamin D and both its protective and therapeutic effects in regard to cancer, the role of something as simple as sunlight in cancer treatment becomes even more important. How much would it cost to have cancer patients go outside in the sunlight daily? How much would it cost to supply them with a vitamin D supplement? At this point to not do so seems almost criminally negligent on the part of caregivers.

 

 

For prior newsletters on vitamin D go to http://www.denvernaturopathic.com/news.html#vitaminD

 

 

References:

[i]

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Oct;14(10):2303-9.

Related Articles, Links

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Vitamin D is associated with improved survival in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer patients.

Zhou W , Suk R , Liu G , Park S , Neuberg DS , Wain JC , Lynch TJ , Giovannucci E , Christiani DC .

Occupational Health Program, Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Vitamin D may inhibit the development and progression of a wide spectrum of cancers. We investigated the associations of surgery season and vitamin D intake with recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival in 456 early-stage non-small cell lung cancer patients. The data were analyzed using log-rank test and Cox proportional hazards models. The median (range) follow-up time was 71 (0.1-140) months, with 161 recurrence and 231 deaths. Patients who had surgery in summer had a better RFS than those who had surgery in winter (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.75; 95% confidence interval, 0.56-1.01), with 5-year RFS rates of 53% (45-61%) and 40% (32-49%), respectively (P = 0.10, log-rank test). Similar association between surgery season and RFS was found among the 321 patients with dietary information (P = 0.33, log-rank test). There was no statistically significant association between vitamin D intake and RFS. Because both season and vitamin D intake are important predictors for vitamin D levels, we investigated the joint effects of surgery season and vitamin D intake. Patients who had surgery during summer with the highest vitamin D intake had better RFS (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.33; 95% confidence interval, 0.15-0.74) than patients who had surgery during winter with the lowest vitamin D intake, with the 5-year RFS rates of 56% (34-78%) and 23% (4-42%), respectively. Similar associations of surgery season and vitamin D intake with overall survival were also observed. In conclusion, the joint effects of surgery season and recent vitamin D intake seem to be associated with the survival of early-stage non-small cell lung cancer patients.

 

[ii]

Int J Cancer. 2006 May 2; [Epub ahead of print]

Related Articles, Links

Click here to read 
Cancer survival is dependent on season of diagnosis and sunlight exposure.

Lim HS , Roychoudhuri R , Peto J , Schwartz G , Baade P , Moller H .

King's College
London , Thames Cancer Registry, London , United Kingdom .

Sunlight is essential for the production of vitamin D in the body. Evidence exists to suggest that vitamin D metabolites may have a role in tumor growth suppression. In this large study, involving over a million cancer patients from the
United Kingdom , we have analyzed the role of season of diagnosis and sunlight exposure in cancer survival for cancers of the breast, colorectum, lung, prostate and at all sites combined. We used population-based data from the Thames Cancer Registry to analyze cancer survival in periods 0-1 and 0-5 years after diagnosis. The analysis was performed using Cox proportional regression analysis adjusting for age and period at diagnosis and including season of diagnosis and sunlight exposure in the preceding months as factors in the analysis. We found evidence of substantial seasonality in cancer survival, with diagnosis in summer and autumn associated with improved survival compared with that in winter, especially in female breast cancer patients and both male and female lung cancer patients (hazard ratios 0.86 [95% CI 0.83-0.89], 0.95 [95% CI 0.92-0.97] and 0.95 [95% CI 0.93-0.98] respectively). Cumulative sunlight exposure in the months preceding diagnosis was also a predictor of subsequent survival, although season of diagnosis was a stronger predictor than cumulative sunlight exposure. We found seasonality in cancer survival to be stronger in women than in men. Our results add to a growing body of evidence that vitamin D metabolites play an important role in cancer survival. (c) 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

PMID: 16671100 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

 


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