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Adult survivors of childhood cancer may be at high risk for vitamin D deficiency

Posted on: January 22, 2015   by  Vitamin D Council


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.”


Neville, K. et al. The Prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency is higher in adult survivors of childhood cancer. Clinical Endocrinology, 2015.

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