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Kidney Cancer: is sunlight good and vitamin D bad?

Kidney cancer and sunlight. By Marc Sorenson, EdD

Kidney cancer is positively associated with vitamin D supplements—maybe.

There are 62,700 cases of kidney cancer and 14,240 deaths annually. Kidney cancer can be a killer, and maybe sunlight exposure can reduce its risk.  And, it is not vitamin D and kidney cancer, but sunlight and kidney cancer, which really piques my interest. I am an advocate of vitamin D and health if vitamin D is obtained from sun exposure to the skin. So today, I was alerted to an article that D supplements—in one subject—was associated with kidney cancer. Consequently, my mind immediately travelled to the book I wrote with William Grant: Embrace the sun.

Kidney cancer studies compiled in Embrace the Sun:

We referenced several studies, which determined that sun exposure reduced many cancers, including kidney cancer, by 35% to 42%.[1] Kidney cancer mortality rates were also found to be strongly inversely correlated with sunshine doses in Dr. Grant’s studies.[2], [3]

Kidney cancer, sunlight and women

Recent research has also demonstrated that high levels of sun exposure in women significantly reduces kidney cancer.[4] Those women with the highest fourth of sun exposure showed a 33% reduction in risk. Interestingly, the data was adjusted for vitamin D intake, and the results still showed sun exposure to have a stand-alone protective influence on kidney cancer—another indication that sun exposure has protective effects beyond the benefits of vitamin D.

Other studies on kidney cancer, using different designs, have produced comparable effects: A study of Swedish construction workers showed a significant 30% decrease in risk among men with the highest sun exposure.

Why would vitamin D supplementation be a negative for kidney cancer?

So why would vitamin D supplementation have deleterious effects on kidney cancer, when sunlight appears to have such salubrious effects on kidney cancer? First of all, one person does not research make! Secondly, the doses of vitamin D were also quite high, 8,000-12-000 IU per day. Thirdly, the vitamin was not produced by the sun, meaning that the subject’s kidney were not protected by the whole gamut of sun-stimulated photoproducts such as nitric oxide, serotonin, endorphin, dopamine, brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) and many others that we have yet to discover.

Summary:

All of the sun’s photoproducts have a place in the choir. Sun exposure should be used holistically. I have been beating that drum for some time. One cannot take a vitamin D pill and hope to achieve all the health benefits of whole-sun exposure.

It is also imperative to understand that toxic levels of vitamin D are not produced by sun. The body self-regulates vitamin D levels when they are produced in the skin by sun exposure. Sunlight is vital to human life. Be sure to get your share of non-burning, safe sunlight and protect yourself from kidney cancer. And while you are sunning, be sure to read the book, Embrace the Sun. And for more information on Kidney cancer, sunlight and vitamin D visit Sunlight institute.


[1] Tuohimaa P, Pukkala E, Scélo G, Olsen JH, Brewster DH, Hemminki K, Tracey E, Weiderpass E, Kliewer EV, Pompe-Kirn V, McBride ML, Martos C, Chia KS, Tonita JM, Jonasson JG, Boffetta P, Brennan P. Does solar exposure, as indicated by the non-melanoma skin cancers, protect from solid cancers: vitamin D as a possible explanation. Eur J Cancer 2007;43(11):1701-12

[2] Grant WB. An estimate of premature cancer mortality in the US due to inadequate doses of solar ultraviolet-B radiation. Cancer. 2002 Mar 15;94(6):1867-75.

[3] Grant WB, Garland CF. The association of solar ultraviolet B (UVB) with reducing risk of cancer: multifactorial ecologic analysis of geographic variation in age-adjusted cancer mortality rates. Anticancer Res. 2006 Jul-Aug;26(4A):2687-99.

[4] Karami S, Colt JS, Stewart PA, Schwartz K, Davis FG, Ruterbusch JJ, Chow WH, Wacholder S, Graubard BI, Purdue MP, Moore LE. Short Report: A case-control study of occupational sun exposure and renal cancer risk. Int J Cancer. 2015 Oct 27.

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High Sun Exposure may reduce Kidney Cancer Risk.

 

 

 

Sun exposure Information by Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute.

There are 62,700 cases of kidney cancer and 14,240 deaths annually. Kidney cancer incidence has tripled since the early 1980s, and some researchers have felt that environmental factors may have played a part in that worrisome increase. One of those factors may be sun exposure, which may be vital to the prevention of the disease. The newest research measured sun exposure, which was based on the average number of hours per day outdoors in the summer, during different periods of life.[1] The researchers also took into consideration the age of the subjects and adjusted the data for other factors that may associate to kidney cancer.

These were some of the research results:

  • Higher summer sun exposure at age 40+ years, but not at younger ages, was associated with a significantly lower risk of thyroid cancer. When comparing the highest quartile (fourth) of sun exposure to the lowest quartile, there was a 44% reduction in risk.
  • Average lifetime sun exposure was not associated with thyroid-cancer risk.
  • Recent summer sun exposure was closely associated with a decreased risk of thyroid cancer.

One of the salient points, in my mind, is that the best sun exposure is that which is habitual or consistent. In the case of kidney cancer, sun exposure in the past does not indicate that the disease will be avoided in the future. Only recent sun exposure provides protection. However, this is not necessarily true of other diseases; in the case of breast and prostate cancers, childhood sun exposure is associated with a lesser risk of the diseases in adulthood.

Previous research has also confirmed the importance of sun exposure on kidney-cancer prevention. There is a strong inverse correlation between sun exposure and kidney cancer. For example, one study that used NMSC as a measure of sun exposure, determined that sun exposure reduced the risk of several cancers, including kidney cancer, from 35% to 42%.[2] Kidney cancer mortality rates were found to be strongly inversely correlated with solar UVB doses in Dr. William Grant’s 2002 and 2006 ecological studies.[3] [4]

Recent research by Dr. Sara Karami and colleagues, demonstrates that in women, there is a significant reduction in kidney cancer with high levels of sun exposure.[5] Those women with the highest fourth of sun exposure showed a 33% reduction in risk. Interestingly, the data was adjusted for vitamin D intake, and the results still showed sun exposure to have a stand-alone protective influence on kidney cancer—another indication that sun exposure has protective effects beyond vitamin D production

Remember that a lifetime habit of non-burning sun exposure will always provide the best health outcomes.

[1] Rachel D Zamoiski, Elizabeth K. Cahoon, D. Michal Freedman, et al. Prospective study of ultraviolet radiation exposure and thyroid cancer risk in the United States. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev Published Online First December 2, 2016.

[2] Tuohimaa P, Pukkala E, Scélo G, Olsen JH, Brewster DH, Hemminki K, Tracey E, Weiderpass E, Kliewer EV, Pompe-Kirn V, McBride ML, Martos C, Chia KS, Tonita JM, Jonasson JG, Boffetta P, Brennan P.  Does solar exposure, as indicated by the non-melanoma skin cancers, protect from solid cancers: vitamin D as a possible explanation.  Eur J Cancer 2007;43(11):1701-12

[3] Grant WB. An estimate of premature cancer mortality in the U.S. due to inadequate doses of solar ultraviolet-B radiation. Cancer. 2002 Mar 15;94(6):1867-75.

[4]  Grant WB, Garland CF. The association of solar ultraviolet B (UVB) with reducing risk of cancer: multifactorial ecologic analysis of geographic variation in age-adjusted cancer mortality rates. Anticancer Res. 2006 Jul-Aug;26(4A):2687-99.

[5] Karami S, Colt JS, Stewart PA, Schwartz K, Davis FG, Ruterbusch JJ, Chow WH, Wacholder S, Graubard BI, Purdue MP, MooreLE.  Short Report: A case-control study of occupational sun exposure and renal cancer risk. Int J Cancer. 2015 Oct 27.

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Embrace the Sun, and your Kidneys will Love You.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute…

Kidney cancer is nothing to take lightly. Any protective measures you take will be worthwhile and potentially life-saving. Nearly 65,000 Americans are diagnosed with kidney cancer annually, accounting for roughly 4% of newly detected cancers and 2% of cancer deaths.[i]

Research demonstrates that kidney cancer, also known as renal cancer, is reduced among people who have the greatest sun exposure. Dr. Sara Karami and her colleagues, in 2010, showed that among European men, there was a 24-38% risk reduction in renal cancer with the highest levels of sun exposure.[ii]

These same researchers, in 2015, showed that U.S. women with the highest two quartiles (fourths) of sun exposure had a 33% reduction in risk.[iii]  Interestingly, the data was adjusted for vitamin D intake, and the results still showed sun exposure to have a stand-alone protective influence on kidney cancer—another indication that sun exposure has protective effects beyond vitamin D.

Other studies on kidney cancer, using different designs, have produced similar results. A study of Swedish construction workers showed a significant 30% decreased risk among men with the highest sun exposure,[iv] and in a study of approximately 451,000 adults, followed for nine years, increasing sun exposure was associated with a significant reduction in kidney cancer and several other cancers.[v]

Embrace the sun, and your kidneys will love you for it. Remember not to burn.

[i] Siegel R, Ma J, Zou Z, et al. Cancer statistics, 2014. CA Cancer J Clin 2014;64:9–29.

[ii] Karami S, Boffetta P, Stewart P, Rothman N, Hunting KL, Dosemeci M, Berndt SI, Brennan P, Chow WH, Moore LE. Occupational sunlight exposure and risk of renal cell carcinoma. Cancer. 2010 Apr 15;116(8):2001-10.

[iii] Sara Karami, Joanne S. Colt, Patricia A. Stewart, Kendra Schwartz, Faith G. Davis, Julie J. Ruterbusch,

Wong-Ho Chow, Sholom Wacholder, Barry I. Graubard, Mark P. Purdue and Lee E. Moore. A case–control study of occupational sunlight exposure and renal cancer risk. Int J Cancer 2015;138:1626–1633.

[iv] Håkansson N, Floderus B, Gustavsson P, Feychting M, Hallin N. Occupational sunlight exposure and cancer incidence among Swedish construction workers. Epidemiology 2001;12:552–7.

[v] Lin SW, Wheeler DC, Park Y, et al. Prospective study of ultraviolet radiation exposure and risk of cancer in the United States. Int J Cancer 2012;131:E1015–23.

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