But at this point, the evidence for a link between sun protection and vitamin D deficiency is still an indirect one, said Dr. Vijay Trisal, an assistant professor of surgical oncology at City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif., who was not involved in the study.
He also noted that a large number of people both with and without histories of skin cancer have vitamin D levels that are deficient.
Rather than basking in the sun or trading long-sleeved shirts for sleeveless, the authors suggest that wider screening of vitamin D levels would be a first step in resolving this problem. Vitamin D supplementation for those who are deficient could follow, said Tang, who is assistant professor of dermatology at Stanford University Medical Center.
Right now, the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 400 international units, but the Institute of Medicine is currently revisiting those numbers. A new report is expected at the end of November, Tang said.
The bottom line, according to Trisal: "It's easy to get adequate doses of vitamin D by taking a tablet."
Find out more about the vitamin D-skin cancer connection at the Skin Cancer Foundation.
SOURCES: Jean Y. Tang, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of dermatology, Stanford University Medical Center; Vijay Trisal, M.D., assistant professor of surgical oncology, City of Hope Cancer Center, Duarte, Calif.; October 2010 Archives of Dermatology
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