Kat Arney, Cancer Research UK
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Hannah: - Well apart from food, a major source of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight which makes the hormone in the skin. So, some sun is good but therein lies the rub because sunlight can also cause skin cancer. Well to find out what's best, we’ve asked our own Dr. Kat Arney from Cancer Research UK to take a look at the evidence.
Kat: - Despite what some people claim about the cancer-preventive properties of vitamin D, in reality the scientific evidence is much more confused. For a start, most of the studies that have looked at the links between vitamin D and cancer suffer from poor methodology – meaning that their methods aren’t sufficiently rigorous to draw any strong conclusion. For example, most studies are what we call “ecological” – they look at how rates of different cancers change depending on where in the world you live, and find that the further north from the equator you go, the more likely people are to develop, or die from, many types of cancer.
So there’s no need to roast yourself to a lobster-like shade of red in an attempt to boost your vitamin D, as it won’t help – and not only will you be increasing your risk of cancer, you’ll also be helping your skin along the way to that lovely leather-handbag look.”
There was a brief mention on the web page, but there are 3 basic types of skin cancer.
excessive anything is not good for you. No mention of the body's natural balancing act of generating more melanin on uv exposure, the skins own natural UV-absorber. Getting sunburnt is not good for you. This is not exactly a scientific revelation.
There are so many inaccuracies in the above interview, it’s hard to know where to start! Most vitamin D studies don’t suffer from poor methodology, “in fact” an individual’s vitamin D level is strongly linked to latitude, studies have adjusted for all of these factors listed and still find low UVB = higher cancer incidence, taking sunny holidays does not have a greater effect on vitamin D levels than geography, etc. It is in stark contrast to the rest of the excellent podcast - the other interviewees discuss the latest vitamin D evidence in an open and honest manner - but maybe that’s because Dr Kat Arney is a press officer for CRUK (and not a vitamin D expert , practising scientist or medical doctor). CRUK, remember, were the driving force behind the ‘Keep Out Of The Sun’ campaign – a campaign, incidentally, based entirely on non-‘rigorous’ ‘ecological’ evidence - and have only recently conceded that some sun exposure may be needed. It appears that they still hold a grudge. Dr Mills, Fri, 13th Apr 2012