Vitamin D May Prolong Lives of Cancer Patients

June 30, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. remission /rɪˈmɪʃən/ (n.) – the period in which a disease subsides, resulting in a temporary or permanent recovery
Example: After following the recommended diet, her cancer went into remission.

2. catalyst /ˈkætɪst/ (n.) – a substance that speeds up a (chemical) reaction without being affected
Example: Sunshine was the catalyst for the cancer patient’s sudden recovery.

3. meta-analysis /ˈmɛtə əˈnæləɪs/ (n.) – a statistical method that collects results from various studies and compares these results with one another
Example: The meta-analysis shows that most patients in Japan prefer organic medicine to artificial medicine.

4. prognosis /prɒgˈnoʊɪs/ (n.) – the probable outcome of a disease, especially in terms of recovery
Example: Patients who lead a healthy lifestyle have a chance of getting a good prognosis.

5. deficiency /dɪˈfɪʃən (n.) – the state of not having enough of something
Example: Doctors should not ignore the deficiency of nutrients in hospital meals.


Read the text below.
A new study suggests that vitamin D may prolong the life expectancy of cancer patients.

Nutritional scientists in China claim that vitamin D not only improves the survival chances but also extends remission of those suffering from certain types of cancer.

As a natural nutrient, vitamin D can be produced in the body from exposure to sunlight or consumption of certain foods like sardines, mackerel, salmon, eggs, and fortified milk. This vitamin also serves as a catalyst for absorbing other nutrients that enrich the bones as well as other bodily parts and functions.  

The research found its results through a meta-analysis of 25 previous studies that collectively tested the vitamin D levels of about 17,000 cancer patients. Researchers measured the Vitamin D levels during diagnosis and before the patients underwent treatments to determine each of their survival rates.

The study discovered that high levels of vitamin D resulted in a four-percent increase in survival for patients with breast cancer, bowel cancer, and lymphoma. However, the nutrient is less effective with the prognosis of other serious types of cancer, such as lung cancer and leukemia.

Professor Hui Wang, one of the research authors, emphasized the significance of the study in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. She said that many people around the world are experiencing a deficiency in vitamin D, which must be addressed immediately. Wang further stressed that it is also vital for doctors to monitor the vitamin D levels of patients diagnosed with cancer.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think cancer patients can do to get more vitamin D?
·         Would you consider changing your lifestyle and diet after reading the article? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Which do you think is better, natural medicine or man-made medicine/treatments? Please explain your answer.
·         If you were to conduct a meta-analysis study on health, what would you focus on?

June 30, 2014