The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    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.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Vitamin D is not associated with decreased melanoma risk

    At the Society for Investigative Dermatology meeting, researchers from Kaiser Permanente, in Oakland, California reported some confusing findings.

    Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer. Although it accounts for only 4% of skin cancer cases, it causes most skin cancer-related deaths. The good news is that it’s curable if caught early.

    First, the details.

    • 68,611 adults participated in the Vitamins and Cohort Lifestyle (VITAL) study.
    • The effect of diet and vitamin D supplements alone and together were evaluated.
    • Food frequency questionnaires were used to determine dietary intake of vitamin D and other nutrients during the preceding year.
    • Data on vitamin supplement use over the preceding 10 years were also collected.
    • Total vitamin D intake from dietary and supplemental sources was then calculated for a 10-year period and compared with melanoma cases from the SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results) database.

    And, the results.

    • Most participants were taking an additional 600 IU of vitamin D daily as a supplement.
    • There was no association between overall supplement use or duration of use with an increased or decreased risk of melanoma.
    • There was no association with melanoma risk when supplements were combined with diet.
    • There was a slightly increased risk of melanoma with diet alone.

    The bottom line?
    It’s not clear why diet alone was associated with a higher risk of melanoma.

    Although there was no apparent protection, it’s possible that the levels of vitamin D were too low.

    Others have suggested that there’s a decreased risk of melanoma with increasing intake of vitamin D from foods.

    5/16/09 15:09 JR

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