Cancer recently dethroned heart disease as the leading killer of Americans under age 85. Not so hard to believe, considering an American Cancer Society report last year that found a staggering 156 Americans per hour were diagnosed with cancer.

A recent study I posted on my Web site showed how men could slash their risk of prostate cancer by doing something easy and simple and healthy for them: Boosting their vitamin D levels that anyone can do naturally by exposing their skin to a healthy amount of sun daily.

A new Harvard study found more not-so-surprising benefits of sunshine exposure or vitamin D:

  • Patients who had surgery for early-stage lung cancer did better if they chose went under the knife during the sunnier part of the year or took a high dose of vitamin D prior to surgery.
  • Those who has surgery during the sunniest part of the year and consumed a higher amount of vitamin E more than doubled their chances of survival beyond the five-year mark than patients who had surgeries in the winter and took a lesser amount of the vitamin.

The emphasis on the benefits of sunshine and vitamin E to treat lung cancer are pretty phenomenal, considering more than 170,000 Americans will be diagnosed with it this year, and 75 percent of them will die from it within two years.

So if you want to boost your body’s natural defenses to cancer, I urge you to have your vitamin D levels checked immediately. And if you aren’t getting enough sun, for whatever reason, taking a high-quality cod liver oil, which contains vitamin D, is one reasonable alternative, and more important than any supplement because it is an essential food.

ABC News April 18, 2005