The Sun

Three factors related to sunlight exposure reduced the risk of pancreatic cancer by as much as 49%, adding to a fairly substantial volume of evidence supporting a role for sun exposure in pancreatic cancer risk, a case-control study showed.

Investigators, presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Pancreatic Cancer Conference that those born in areas with the most sunlight had a 24% lower risk of pancreatic cancer than the individuals who lived in areas with the least amount of sunlight.

The risk of pancreatic cancer spanned the spectrum of skin types. However, participants with the most sun-sensitive skin had almost a 50% lower risk of pancreatic cancer than those with the least sun sensitivity. Sunshine may help protect against pancreatic cancer regardless of whether a person takes vitamin D supplements.

One of the study authors, Dr. Rachel Neale of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia, said that “Given the findings of studies examining circulating vitamin D, it is possible that if exposure to ultraviolet radiation does decrease the risk of pancreatic cancer, it is acting independently of vitamin D.”