Can exposure to sunlight reduce the risk of breast cancer? Here’s what a new study says


According to a new study, exposure to sunlight can help reduce the risk of breast Cancer — the second most common cancer affecting women, after skin cancer, in the US.

The article from the University of Buffalo and the University of Puerto Rico in the US, which was published in the Jjournal of cancer epidemiology, biomarkers and preventions, comprised a population-based case-control study of breast cancer among women in the metropolitan area of ​​San Juan, Puerto Rico, that examined a cumulative sun exposure index (SEI) based on a comparison of the reflectance of exposed skin in the sun and not exposed.

The researchers used a chromameter to measure skin reflectance and estimate the difference between constitutive (unexposed) and facultative (exposed) skin pigmentation in 307 cases and 328 controls. The Puerto Rico study noted that breast cancer risk factors were determined using interviewer-administered questionnaires.

The study concluded that there was a lower risk of breast cancer associated with greater sun exposure in a population living with continuous high sun exposure due to higher levels of vitamin D. This beneficial finding must be placed in the context of other effects of sun exposure, he noted.

Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin because the body makes it when it is exposed to ultraviolet B rays from the sun. Exposure to sunlight is said to be extremely rewarding for the body.

“Sun exposure is generally linked to skin cancers, however, according to the study, there was a reduction in breast cancer causation rates with increased sun exposure. The researchers correlated this finding with higher levels of vitamin D generated in the body in these women with greater exposure to sunlight, which was speculated to lead to lower rates of breast cancer development. This is a very exciting finding that needs to be further studied and validated, specifically in the Indian population,” said Dr. Sewanti Limaye, Director of Medical Oncology, Precision Oncology and Clinical and Transitional Oncology Research, Sir HN Reliance Hospital. Foundation.

Dr. Kanika Sharma, a radiation oncologist at Dharamshila Narayana Super Specialty Hospital, said that according to some observational studies in the US, increased sun exposure reduces the chances of developing this malignancy by 11 percent. “This happens because the human body synthesizes vitamin D when exposed to the sun. This helps decrease inflammation, improve the body’s natural circadian rhythm, and control obesity. The sun also improves mental health, strengthens immunity and bones,” said Dr. Sharma

Sunlight is necessary for the production of vitamin D (Photo: Pixabay)

Dr. Kapoor also added that research suggests that women with low vitamin D levels are at increased risk of breast cancer. Vitamin D may play a role in controlling the normal growth of breast cells and may stop the growth of cancer cells.

“There is a strong association of sunshine vitamin with many other types of cancer such as ovarian, colon, and multiple myelomas. Not just cancer, this is beneficial for other ailments like diabetes, bone diseases, cardiovascular ailments, multiple sclerosis. This wonderful vitamin helps in the repair of faulty genes, which can cause multiple problems,” said Dr. Kapoor.

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