STUDY: Vitamin D Deficiency Linked To Prostate Cancer
Low levels of vitamin D in men may predict the risk of aggressive prostate cancer according to findings from a new study published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.
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The study, conducted by researchers at Northwestern University, tested 273 African-American men and 275 European-American men between the ages of 40 and 79. Their findings showed that African-American men with the lowest levels of vitamin D were 4.89 times more likely to be at risk for developing an aggressive form of prostate cancer. European-American men in the same group were 3.66 times more likely to be at risk.
Additionally, vitamin D deficient African-American men were 4.22 times more likely to have a stage T2b tumor – when cancer can be felt or seen on a scan, but is confined to the prostate. In comparison, European-American men with the lowest measured levels of vitamin D were 2.42 times more likely to have this type of tumor.
Vitamin D absorption, specifically from sun exposure, can be affected by skin color and researchers offer this as one explanation for why African-American men in the study showed increased risk, despite European-American men in the study having higher levels of vitamin D in their blood.
The signs and symptoms of a possible vitamin D deficiency can be very subtle, but may include fatigue, bone pain and muscle weakness.
“Vitamin D deficiency seems to be important for general wellness and may be involved in the formation or progression of several human cancers. It would be wise to be screened for vitamin D deficiency and treated,” said study author Dr. Adam B. Murphy, assistant professor in the Department of Urology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
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To learn more about the study, click here.
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