A combination of calcium and vitamin D supplements could reduce the risk of skin cancer in women with a history of non-deadly forms of the disease, a study suggests.
Researchers in the US discovered that the group who took the vitamins - and who are most at risk of developing malignant melanoma - were 57% less likely to develop the dangerous strain of cancer compared to women in the same at-risk group who did not take the vitamins.
Study leader Dr Jean Tang, from Stanford University in California, said: “If you previously had a non-melanoma skin cancer, calcium plus vitamin D might reduce your risk of the more deadly melanoma.”
The findings were established with data from the Women’s Health Initiative, which analysed 36,000 women aged 50 to 79 for an average of seven years.
The test group either took 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day with 400 international units of vitamin D, or a placebo tablet.
Dr Tang pointed out that the findings are only relevant to those women with a history of non-melanoma skin cancer.
- Tang JY, et al. Calcium Plus Vitamin D Supplementation and the Risk of Nonmelanoma and Melanoma Skin Cancer: Post Hoc Analyses of the Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2011; Advance online publication.