According to a recent research conducted by a team from the Northern California Cancer Center, the University of Southern California, and Wake Forest University School of Medicine, exposure to the sun may bring down breast cancer risks. This could be due to the fact that exposure to sunlight increases the levels of vitamin D in the body, researchers said. The research was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute and U.S. Department of Defense Medical Research Program.

Highlights of the research
a. Data of 1,788 breast cancer patients from the San Francisco Bay area was compared with a control group of 2,129 women who did not have breast cancer.
b. Participants included non-Hispanic white, Hispanic and African-American women, since skin color is an important factor in the production of vitamin D by the body.
c. Researchers used a portable reflectometer to measure skin color on the underarm which is usually not exposed to sunlight.
d. Based on these measurements, they classified the women as having light, medium or dark natural skin color.
e. Researchers then compared sun exposure between women with breast cancer and those without breast cancer.
f. It was seen that women with high sun exposure had half the risk of developing advanced breast cancer as compared to women with low sun exposure.
g. These findings were observed only for women with naturally light skin color.
h. Since this difference was seen in only one group it was concluded that the effect was due to differences in vitamin D production.