01/05/2015 09:12 BST | Updated 01/05/2015 09:59 BST

Sun Exposure May Decrease The Risk Of Pancreatic Cancer, Study Suggests

We know sun exposure can increase the risk of skin cancer, but new research suggests spending some time in the sunshine could reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine examined data from 107 countries and found that pancreatic cancer rates were highest in countries with the least amount of sunlight.

They said this may be down to people suffering from vitamin D deficiency if they rarely spend time in the sun.

sunbathing man

"People who live in sunny countries near the equator have only one sixth of the age-adjusted incidence rate of pancreatic cancer as those who live far from it," lead author Cedric Garland, said, according to the MailOnline.

"The importance of sunlight deficiency strongly suggests – but does not prove – that vitamin D deficiency may contribute to the risk of pancreatic cancer."

When analysing the data, the researchers took other lifestyle factors into consideration that could influence the results, such as alcohol consumption and weight loss.

However, they found a strong link between cloud cover and pancreatic cancer rate even when these factors were considered.

The study is published in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. It isn't the first to establish a link between sun exposure and pancreatic cancer.


Pancreatic Cancer Prevention: Eating Nuts Could Reduce Risk By Up To One Third

WATCH: Which Simple Dental Habit Can Help Prevent Pancreatic Cancer?

In 2012, an American study indicated that people whose skin was considered to be "sun sensitive" - meaning they burned easily, but didn't tan easily - had a 49% lower risk of pancreatic cancer than people with average skin.

In this study, the researchers also put this link down to vitamin D deficiency.

According to the NHS, pancreatic cancer is the 11th most common cancer in the world, with 8,800 people being diagnosed with the disease in the UK each year.

H/T: The MailOnline

Photo gallerySymptoms of Pancreatic Cancer See Gallery