In a new study, researchers out of Australia have found that adults who had cancer as children have higher rates of vitamin D deficiency compared to healthy adults.
Individuals with cancer are often at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency due to a decreased ability to get outside for adequate sun exposure.
What about adults who survived childhood cancer? Are they too at an increased risk for vitamin D deficiency, and is this because of the cancer during early life?
A research team recently compared the vitamin D levels of 208 survivors of cancer (108 children and 99 adults) to the levels of 132 healthy children and 1,393 healthy adults.
They found that vitamin D levels were similar among children who survived cancer and healthy children.
After adjusting for gender, low vitamin D levels were more common in adults who survived childhood cancer compared to healthy adults. Twenty percent of healthy adults had vitamin D deficiency, defined as levels below 20 ng/ml, compared to 42.4% of adults who survived childhood cancer.
“Adult survivors are at increased risk of abnormalities in vitamin D compared to the background population, probably reflecting longer time since diagnosis,” the researchers concluded.
“Like others, we have not identified any contributory treatment related factors.”