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Sunshine and calcium for colon cancer.

Living in a sunny climate and drinking milk may do more than give you a nice tan and healthy teeth and bones. They may also help prevent colorectal cancer, the second most common cancer type resulting in death in the United States, report University of California at San Diego (UCSD) researchers.

Their study examined about 2,000 men and showed that those who frequently ate vitamin D- and calcium-rich foods had only one-third the rate of colorectal cancer as men who rarely ate such foods, says Cedric Garland of UCSD School of Medicine, an author of the paper. An earlier study by Garland and his brother, Frank Garland of the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego, showed that people in southern and western states with high average levels of light, which is known to be a good source of vitamin D, had fewer deaths from colorectal cancer than those in states receiving less sunlight.

For their current report, in the Feb. 9 LANCET, the researchers reviewed dietary data collected from 1957 to 1959 for a different study of male employees at Chicago's Western Electric Co. They collected information about their incidence of cancer for the next 19 years. Men with the lowest dietary intake of vitamin D and calcium had a colorectal cancer rateof 38.9 per 1,000, they found, while men with the highest intake had a rate of 14.3 per 1,000.

The researchers caution that "the present evidence cannot show conclusively that vitamin D or calcium protects against the occurrence of colorectal cancer." But they believe further research in this area is worth pursuit.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Mar 2, 1985
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