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Vitamin D 'could be better than drugs' for cancer

By Jeremy Laurence in London

Published 12/05/2011

Vitamin D pills available for a few pence in any local chemist's shop may have a bigger impact in extending the survival of cancer patients than drugs costing tens of thousands of euros, says a leading cancer specialist.

Professor Angus Dalgeish, consultant medical oncologist at St George's Hospital in south-west London, will tell a conference next week he tests all his cancer patients for the level of Vitamin D and prescribes supplements where they are low.

At St George's, where he runs a clinic for patients with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, tests showed that the majority had low Vitamin D.

"If we supplement people who are low they may do better than expected. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Vitamin D turns out to be more useful in improving outcomes in cases of early relapse than drugs costing £10,000 a year," he said.

Prof Dalgleish said he also tests Vitamin D levels in private patients who have different kinds of cancer and prescribes the vitamin where it is low.

He said he had been intrigued by research on patients with melanoma by the University of Leeds, which showed those with the lowest level of Vitamin D were 30pc more likely to suffer a recurrence after treatment than those who had the highest levels. (© Independent News Service)

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