Thursday, December 2

Little sunbathing increases the risk of colorectal cancer

A man rests on a beach

A man rests on a beach

A Inadequate exposure to UVB light from the sun may be associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, especially in older age groups, according to a study using data from 186 countries, published in the open access journal ‘BMC Public Health’.

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego, United States, investigated possible associations between global levels of UVB light in 2017 and colorectal cancer rates for different countries and age groups in 2018. The authors found that lower UVB exposure was significantly correlated with higher rates of colorectal cancer in all age groups, from 0 to over 75 years of age, in people living in the 186 countries included in the study.

The association between less UVB exposure and colorectal cancer risk remained significant for those over 45 after taking into account other factors, such as skin pigmentation, life expectancy, and smoking. Data on these factors were available for 148 countries.

The authors suggest that less exposure to UVB rays can reduce vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency has previously been associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. According to the authors, future research could directly look at the potential colorectal cancer benefits of correcting vitamin D deficiencies, especially in older age groups.

Raphael Cuomo, co-author of the study, explains that “differences in UVB light explain much of the variation we see in colorectal cancer rates, especially in people older than 45 years. Although this is still preliminary evidence, it is possible that older individuals, in particular, can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by correcting vitamin D deficiencies“.

The authors used UVB estimates obtained by NASA’s EOS Aura spacecraft in April 2017 and data on 2018 colorectal cancer rates for 186 countries from the Global Cancer database (GLOBOCAN). They also collected data for 148 countries on skin pigmentation, life expectancy, smoking, stratospheric ozone (a naturally occurring gas that filters solar radiation), and other factors that can influence health and exposure to chemicals. UVB rays from previous literature and databases. Among the countries with the least UVB were Norway, Denmark and CanadaWhile the countries with the most UVB were the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Nigeria and India.

The authors caution that there are other factors that can affect UVB exposure and vitamin D levels, such as vitamin D supplements, clothing, and air pollution, that were not included in the study. They also warn that the observational nature of the study does not allow conclusions to be drawn about cause and effect, and that more work is needed to understand in more detail the relationship between UVB rays and vitamin D with colorectal cancer.

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