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A new study by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) indicates that vitamin D screening followed by aggressive vitamin D repletion for those who are deficient should be considered for all cancer patients, regardless of whether or not they are malnourished.
"While emerging evidence suggests the protective role of vitamin D in cancer, vitamin D status is not routinely assessed in cancer patients despite the high prevalence of malnutrition in this population," said Carolyn Lammersfeld, national director of nutrition for CTCA and a principal investigator in the study.
The researchers assessed the nutritional status of 737 cancer patients and classified them as either well nourished, moderately malnourished or severely malnourished. They expected that malnourished patients would be vitamin D deficient but instead found that vitamin D deficiency was common in all the cancer patients, regardless of their nutritional status.
Vitamin D has been linked to cancer prevention and is being investigated as a possible aid to cancer treatment. A recent paper in the Annals of Epidemiology projected that raising the minimum year-round vitamin D level by 50 percent would prevent approximately 58,000 new cases of breast cancer and 49,000 new cases of colorectal cancer each year in the U.S. and Canada.
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