CancerVitamin D

Failure to lower skin cancer risk with vitamin D

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine, in Redwood City, California, evaluated the effects of vitamin D combined with calcium supplementation on melanoma skin cancers.

First, the details.

  • 36,282 postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative calcium/vitamin D study were randomly assigned to a treatment group for about 7 years.
    • 1,000 mg of elemental calcium + 400 IU of vitamin D3 daily
    • Placebo
  • Nonmelanoma and melanoma skin cancers were recorded.

And, the results.

  • The rate of nonmelanoma and melanoma didn’t differed between treatments.
  • Women with a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer taking vitamin D + calcium had a significantly reduced risk of melanoma vs those taking placebo.
    • This was not observed in women without history of nonmelanoma skin cancer.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Vitamin D supplementation at a relatively low dose plus calcium did not reduce the overall incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer or melanoma.”

But the suggestion of a potential role for calcium + vitamin D supplements in women at high risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer warrants more study.

7/21/11 22:22 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.