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Patients deficient in vitamin D fare worse in battle with lymphoma

Sunshine vitamin may play protective role against common form of the blood cancer

NEW ORLEANS — A shortage of vitamin D may stack the deck against people fighting a common form of lymphoma, researchers reported December 5 at a meeting of the American Society of Hematology. The new study adds this cancer to the list of malignancies suspected of being more difficult to control in patients with vitamin D deficiency common in parts of the U.S. population.

From 2002 to 2008, the researchers analyzed blood samples from 374 newly diagnosed patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a fast-growing cancer of white blood cells called B cells. It mainly hits people over 50 and accounts for roughly 40 percent of lymphomas.

The study participants averaged 62 years of age. The blood tests revealed that half were deficient in vitamin D at the start of treatment, having less than 25 nanograms per milliliter of blood.

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