People with high levels of vitamin D-the sunshine vitamin-are more likely to survive cancer longer, even when it's spread (metastasized).
Those with the highest levels of the vitamin in their blood survived for nearly a year longer than those with the lowest levels after being diagnosed with colon cancer that had spread. This represented a 33 per cent improved survival rate.
Researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute made the discovery by accident while they were testing three new chemotherapy agents on 1,043 patients with advanced colon cancer.
High vitamin D levels can sometimes indicate a general healthy lifestyle, including a good diet, exercise and an outdoors life, but even when the researchers eliminated these factors from their calculations, the importance of the vitamin was independently significant.
The one thing they aren't sure about yet is whether vitamin D could work as a treatment for cancer.
(Source: Proceedings of the American Society of Cancer Oncology Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, San Francisco, January 13, 2015)