Does sunlight protect us from cancer?

Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2017 Mar 16;16(3):416-425. doi: 10.1039/c6pp00332j.


The Ultraviolet (UV) radiation contained in sunlight is a powerful mutagen and immune suppressant which partly explains why exposure to solar UV is the biggest risk factor for the development of cutaneous tumours. Evidence is building that sunlight may be protective against some internal malignancies. Because patients with these tumours are often vitamin D deficient, this has led some to propose that vitamin D supplementation will be beneficial in the treatment of these cancers. However, the results from already completed trials have been disappointing which has given weight to the argument that there must be something else about sunlight that explains its cancer-protecting properties.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements
  • Heliotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Skin Neoplasms / complications
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Sunlight*
  • Treatment Failure
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy*


  • Vitamin D