Winter and PC Diagnosis Rates

What month has the highest diagnosis of prostate cancer and rising psa levels? It seems to me it maybe in the winter. This would correlate with lower vitamin d levels because of less sun exposure.

Are there any official statistics which prove this to be true? If so, then maybe vitamin d supplementation is the key to preventing and/or treating prostate cancer!


6 Replies

  • There's absolutely no evidence that the sun affects Prostate Cancer in any way -although excessive exposure to the sun's rays may suppress the immune system (We've all got rogue cells which can be prompted to make changes which give rise to cancer). {Always use 'Google Scholar' in your specific searches for scientific/medical etc., queries - You then have access to original papers, studies, peer reviewed papers, etc.}

    Stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day 11am until 3pm. If your must sun yourself, do so with at least sun protection lotions at least 30+ but preferably above - they are usually available from Cancer Councils of most countries.

    Countries on or close to the Equator have the highest risk of excessive radiation from the sun which is a direct cause of cancer. Australia has the highest, or one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world - the result of the climate and the fact that a large proportion of the population comes from

    Overexposure to the sun - especially for light-skinned people - English, Scandinavians, Irish ... the Celtic background, Northern Italians etc., etc., ... anyone with very light coloured skin and particularly if they live in a country with high UV levels from the sun (usually near the equator) ... often associated with pale eyes - the blue / grey / hazel etc., can result in skin cancer, melanomas, together with advanced age related conditions - so with over exposure to the sun we get far more wrinkles wrinkles, age spots etc., so:

    The harmful effects from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation can be classified as acute or chronic. The acute effects of UV-A and UV-B exposure are both short-lived and reversible. These effects include mainly sunburn (or erythema) and tanning (or pigment darkening). The chronic effects of UV exposure can be much more serious, even life threatening, and include premature aging of the skin, suppression of the immune system, damage to the eyes, and skin cancer.

    Dark-skinned people (the darker the better) have more resistance to sunburn etc., and have less incidence of the various skin cancers but can still receive skin damage. The skin cancer leads to cancer and unfortunately are usually diagnosed later than 'caucasian' type skin colour.

    Everyone can get skin cancer. Most skin cancers are associated with ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds, and many people of color are less susceptible to UV damage thanks to the greater amounts of melanin (the protective pigment that gives skin and eyes their color) darker skin produces.

    Cheers, Aussiedad

  • I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in late October, 2012 and the scans were done in early November which indicated that it was advanced metastatic prostate cancer.

    However, my initial PSA was a very high 744, and I had metastases to "innumerable" pelvic lymph glands, spine and sacrum.

    Obviously, I'd had prostate cancer for more than a year or two before I was diagnosed, as it was very advanced----the prostate was so huge it was partially blocking both ureters and bladder outlet, and pushing into the rectum/colon wall.

    So the time/month of diagnosis has little to do with the time/month of year.

    But it is correct that there is some correlation in vitamin D defiiency---I'd been diagnosed with D deficiency at least two years before the cancer diagnosis.


  • Mark,

    With due respect to Aussiedad, there is indeed seasonal variation in PCa diagnosis in some parts of the world.

    If there is a vitamin D connection (which I think is well-established now), the seasonal distribution of cases would be more marked in populations that see little sun during long winter months. When is a man most vulnerable in such places? The summer months going into fall build up the calcidiol reservoir for the winter. This is all but depleted by the start of spring. The spring sun in the far north (or far south) is very weak, & men are running on fumes into early summer. So, would early summer be a time when cancer growth is strongest?

    However, one can't ignore the effect of screening, which distorts the calendar. IMO, we should see the true effect in populations where screening is less common.

    Also, PCa is a silent disease at the beginning. One doesn't suddenly come down with PCa. There is likely a lag, in an an unscreened population, between accelerated growth & a visit to the urologist.

    From a 2003 Swedish study [1]:

    "Malignant melanomas, prostate, breast and thyroid cancers were the only sites for which a deviation from a uniform distribution throughout the year could be detected"

    Now this is very interesting, since there is a disputed connection in men between PCa & thyroid cancer. Men with one cancer, as group, have more of the other. This has been dismissed as just another example of overscreening. "Look for cancer & you will find it." I don't know if there is a connection, but it is interesting to see the seasonal variation.

    "The highest mean number of cases was reported in October ... for prostate ... cancer".

    Seems ironic that PCa would be most diagnosed when calcidiol levels might be highest, but I'm not surprised.

    "Monthly frequency distributions of diagnosis of ... prostate ... cancers in Sweden 1987–1996." Highest: 5,704 (Oct), versus 4,843 (Apr), 6 months earlier.

    Admittedly, the monthly numbers in Table 1 are not well-behaved, but the 18% variation between April & October has to mean something.

    Is vitamin D important after diagnosis (as I believe it might be)? If so, it should have a seasonal effect on mortality.

    From a Norwegian study [2]:

    "Together with researchers from the Norwegian Cancer Registry, we were the first to investigate the variation of cancer prognosis with season of diagnosis. A better prognosis for cases diagnosed in summer and autumn than in winter and spring was found. This was attributed to the seasonal variation of serum 25(OH)D levels, although contributions from other factors were not excluded."

    {"It has been estimated that an increment of 25 nmol/l in serum 25(OH)D would give a 17% reduction in total cancer incidence and a 29% reduction in total cancer mortality.7 The fact that the reduction in mortality is larger than that in incidence, indicates that a high 25(OH)D level leads to decreased fatality, as suggested by our data,9,21,23,24 and the magnitude of the reduction is similar to what we can estimate, using a summer 25(OH)D level throughout the year and assuming that the overall prognosis to be as good throughout the year as found for summer diagnosis, i.e., 20–30% better than for winter diagnosis.}

    The above is not site-specific, however.

    From a 2009 Swedish study [3]:

    "There was a higher hazard ratio of death in men ... diagnosed with cancer in the summer with a relative hazard of 1.20 ... for July for prostate cancer ... when compared to being diagnosed in January.

    In contrast, from a 2007 Norwegian study [4]:

    "Patients diagnosed during the summer and autumn had the best prognosis (Relative risk (RR) death 0.8 ...)"

    Crazy? 20% either way! The apparent contradiction might not mean much. These are populations that cycle between vitamin D deficiency & bare adequacy annually. Perhaps more data regarding sunlight exposure of actual cases might explain the difference. The important thing is that there is a seasonal variation.

    Incidentally, sunrise & sunset in Oslo tomorrow: 3:54 AM & 10:40 PM. Good luck with that tan, though - keep taking the cholecalciferol. Stockholm: 3:31 AM & 10:04 PM.






  • Thanks Patrick! I'll keep getting my sun exposure and supplementing with vitamin D3


  • Remember that correlation does not equal causation !!!

  • O do not believe that there is any research done that would answer your question about what month has the greatest number of diagnosis. Actually, this information, if available would not be of any value because men are not diagnosed when they get the disease, like we might be when we have a heart attack or even the flu. Men are diagnosed at different stages of the disease progression and are almost 100% diagnosed long after the cancer has first appeared.


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