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Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, claiming the lives of nearly 10 million each year. As the number of cancer drugs has increased in recent years, so too have the costs associated with their use. Findings in a recent report indicate that vitamin D may reduce the number of cancer deaths, saving thousands of dollars.
The authors of the study drew on data regarding age- and sex-specific cancer deaths in the German Center for Cancer Registry. They estimated the costs of cancer treatment and years of living lost in people over the age of 50 years since most cancer deaths occur in this age group and because most vitamin D trials are conducted in older adults. They also estimated the costs of vitamin D supplementation and summarized the findings from three recent meta-analyses investigating the effects of vitamin D supplementation on cancer deaths.
The authors estimated that the end-of-life cancer costs in Germany were more than $48,000 USD per patient, but the cost of vitamin D supplementation $30 USD per year. They estimated that 1,000 IU of vitamin D daily would reduce cancer deaths in Germany by 13 percent, or about 30,000 lives, at a savings of more than $308 million USD.
These findings suggest that vitamin D is a cost-effective means to reduce cancer deaths, especially among older adults. Learn how vitamin D slows epigenetic aging – a driver of cancer – in this episode featuring Dr. Steve Horvath.
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