Lung cancer link to sunlight

A lack of sunlight may increase the risk of lung cancer, US research suggests.

The researchers found that lung cancer rates were highest in those countries furthest away from the equator and lowest in those nearest.

They examined the association between latitude, exposure to UVB light, and rates of lung cancer according to age in 111 countries around the world. The amount of cloud cover and aerosol use, both of which absorb UVB light, and cigarette smoking which is the primary cause of lung cancer, were also taken into account.

Researchers found that the prevalence of smoking was asso-ciated with higher lung cancer rates, while greater exposure to UVB light was associated with lower rates of lung cancer.

The associations for a protective role for UVB light remained after adjusting for smoking.

Countries closest to the equator, like Uganda and Colombia, had fewer than 15 cases of lung cancer per 100,000 people, but countries furthest away from the equator such as Canada and Denmark had over 30 cases of lung disease per 100,000 people.

Laboratory research has shown that vitamin D can halt tumour growth by promoting the factors responsible for cell death in the body.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

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