Research published last week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that people who are vitamin D deficient had a significantly increased risk of developing bladder cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, there are about 73,500 new cases of bladder cancer diagnosed and 15,000 deaths per year in the United States. Nine out of ten people diagnosed with bladder cancer are over the age of 55.
Dr Andre Amaral and colleagues collected blood samples from 1,125 patients with bladder cancer from 18 different Spanish hospitals, as well as serum samples from 1,028 matched controls.
The researchers found that those with the lowest vitamin D levels were 1.83 times as likely to have bladder cancer when compared to those with the highest levels (p=0.006). They also looked at different forms of bladder cancer and found that the patients with the lowest vitamin D levels were 5.94 times as likely to develop the most aggressive form of bladder cancer, urothelial bladder cancer (p=0.005).
Dr Nuria Malats, co-author of the study, told the LA Times:
“These results indicate that high levels of the vitamin are associated with protection from the illness or, similarly, that low levels are associated with a higher risk of suffering from it.”
Amaral AFS, et al. Plasma 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 and bladder cancer risk according to tumor stage and FGFR3 status: A mechanism-based epidemiological study. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. October 29, 2012.