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Individuals whose vitamin D test results show elevated levels of the nutrient may be at a higher risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer, according to a new study published in the Archives of Dermatology. However, the authors of the report say the relationship is complicated by other factors.
The vitamin is produced in the skin following exposure to the sun's ultraviolet radiation. However, this is the same type of ray that is known to increase a person's risk of developing skin cancer. The new study suggests that the two phenomena could be linked.
For the study, researchers from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit measured the blood levels of vitamin D in more than 3,000 participants. The team also analyzed individuals' medical records.
The results showed that the vast majority of participants had insufficient levels of vitamin D. However, those who had levels in top group for vitamin D were shown to be significantly more likely to have been diagnosed with skin cancer.
The findings suggest that vitamin D most likely does not cause skin cancer. Instead, exposure to UV radiation may be the source of both high nutrient levels and skin cancer risk.
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