Vitamin D may prevent cancer death in people aged above 50 years: Study
Germany: Vitamin D supplementation may be a cost-saving approach for substantially reducing cancer death in older healthy adults aged above 50 years, finds a recent study in the journal Molecular Oncology.
Recent meta-analyses have reported vitamin D supplementation to be associated with significant decrease in cancer mortality. Tobias Niedermaier, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany, and colleagues estimated costs and savings for preventing cancer deaths by vitamin D supplementation of the population aged 50+ years in Germany.
The analysis is based on national data on cancer mortality in 2016. The number of deaths preventable from cancer was estimated by multiplying cancer deaths above age 50 with the estimated proportionate reduction in cancer mortality derived by vitamin D supplementation according to meta‐analyses of RCTs (13%). Saved costs were estimated by multiplying this number by estimated end‐of‐life cancer care costs (€40 000).
Annual costs of vitamin D supplementation were estimated at 25€ per person above age 50. Comprehensive sensitivity analyses were conducted. In the main analysis, vitamin D supplementation was estimated to prevent almost 30 000 cancer deaths per year at approximate costs of €900 million and savings of €1.154 billion, suggesting net savings of €254 million.
Key findings of the study include:
- If all persons older than 50 in Germany were given a daily dose of 1000 IU of vitamin D, almost 30,000 cancer deaths a year could be prevented, and Germany's annual costs for cancer care would be slashed by more than €250 ($300) million.
- In the United States, distributing a 5-cent vitamin D tablet to persons older than 50 would cost about $2.2 billion per year but would prevent 78,000 cancer deaths, save $3.7 billion, and endow older Americans with an additional 870,000 years of life.
"Our results support promotion of supplementation of vitamin D among older adults as a cost‐saving approach to substantially reduce cancer mortality," wrote the authors.
The study titled, "Vitamin D supplementation to the older adult population in Germany has the cost‐saving potential of preventing almost 30 000 cancer deaths per year," is published in the journal Molecular Oncology.