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Proceedings Paper

Economic burden analysis for UV radiation and vitamin D for colorectal cancer in the United States
Author(s): Cedric F. Garland; Sharif B. Mohr; William B. Grant; Michael F. Holick
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Paper Abstract

Moderate exposure to sunlight is a key factor in maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D sufficiency is associated with reduced incidence of many forms of cancer, osteoporotic fractures, multiple sclerosis, and other diseases. However, excessive ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure may be associated with melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer. An estimated 50,000-60,000 individuals die prematurely from cancer annually due to insufficient vitamin D in the US. The annual economic burden due to vitamin D insufficiency from inadequate exposure to solar ultraviolet B (UVB) or deficient oral intake is estimated at $46-65 billion, while that for excessive UVR exposure is $5-7 billion (1). Since excessive UVR exposure is not required for adequate vitamin D photosynthesis, increasing national guidelines for vitamin D intake and de-stigmatizing appropriate solar UVB exposure would substantially reduce medical care costs. This report describes an algorithm for estimating the annual number of dollars that could be saved and deaths from colorectal cancer that could be prevented by moderate daily exposure to sunlight or increased oral intake of vitamin D3. If the assumptions of this analysis are valid, moderate exposure to sunlight or adequate oral intake of vitamin D3 would prevent 10 deaths from colorectal cancer for every death from skin cancer that it might induce, and would save $11 billion per year. Reference: (1) Grant WB, Garland CF, Holick MF. Comparisons of estimated economic burdens due to insufficient solar ultraviolet (UV) irradiation or vitamin D and excess solar UV irradiation. Photochem Photobiol. In press.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 August 2005
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 5886, Ultraviolet Ground- and Space-based Measurements, Models, and Effects V, 58860P (18 August 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.615158
Show Author Affiliations
Cedric F. Garland, Univ. of California/San Diego (United States)
Naval Health Research Ctr. (United States)
Sharif B. Mohr, Naval Health Research Ctr. (United States)
William B. Grant, Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Ctr. (United States)
Michael F. Holick, Boston Univ. Medical Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5886:
Ultraviolet Ground- and Space-based Measurements, Models, and Effects V
Germar Bernhard; James R. Slusser; Jay R. Herman; Wei Gao, Editor(s)

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