Sun May Lower Risk of Some Cancers

Exposure increases vitamin D, helps fight non-skin varieties
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2008 7:48 PM CST
Sun May Lower Risk of Some Cancers
A couple shares a tender moment while sunbathing near a lake in the village of Korenevo just outside Moscow, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2007. Exposure to sunlight helps the body produce Vitamin D, which may help patients survive cancer. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – Getting a little bit more sun may actually reduce the risk of dying from some forms of cancer, a new study says. Brief exposure spurs the production of vitamin D in the body, which helps patients survive bouts with internal cancers—colon, lung, breast, and prostate. That benefit may outweigh any risks of developing skin cancer, the researchers say.

The study "draws attention to existing studies that have shown that vitamin D deficiency is a cause of cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, ovary, pancreas, and kidney," said one expert in the field. The lead researcher emphasized that any sun exposure should be brief; he recommends 10 to 15 minutes a day around noon, with 40% of your skin exposed. He also suggests getting your doctor's approval first. (Read more cancer stories.)

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