Could Vitamin D help more people survive bowel cancer?

More people now die of bowel cancer worldwide than any other form of the disease bar lung cancer.

Over 40,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the UK.

We urgently need new and better therapies to save lives and reduce increasing strain on the NHS.

The main risk factors are age and obesity. People across the UK are now living longer than ever before, and obesity rates are rising fast, so this is going to become an even more urgent problem without serious, concerted efforts to tackle it.

New BDRF research, led by a research team at the University of Edinburgh, shows exciting potential to improve bowel cancer treatment.

Our team will examine an apparent link between bowel cancer survival and a patient’s levels of Vitamin D at the time of surgery.

Previous studies have shown there might be a link between Vitamin D and various forms of cancer – suggesting high levels of the vitamin decrease the risk of developing the disease.

The reasons for this are still unclear though, and much more research is needed to find out if and how Vitamin D might be used to fight bowel cancer.

Our research scientists have recently made exciting progress, carrying out studies showing that having low vitamin D levels is associated with a worse chance of survival after bowel cancer surgery.

They are now looking at ways to introduce simple Vitamin D tablets as a safe and cost-effective supplement to surgery.

If successful, they could launch a major research trial and ultimately improve patients’ chances of long-term survival.

Peter Vaughan-Shaw, the surgeon leading the study, says:

Vitamin D shows great promise as a cheap and safe supplement to improve survival from bowel cancer yet no other study has looked at vitamin D supplementation around the time of bowel cancer surgery and perioperative levels.

We hope information from this study will help us design a larger study to test whether giving vitamin D supplements can improve survival following bowel cancer surgery”

Without our donors, supporters & fundraisers we wouldn’t be able to do this. Thanks to them, a potentially huge step forward in cancer care could soon be on the way.

Your support could help BDRF seed fund the next major research breakthrough – so to help this project and others like it, please make a donation today.

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