Too long a wait

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It is great to hear of the Edinburgh University study adding to the body of evidence suggesting that high levels of vitamin D in the body increase cancer survival (your report, 10 July).

In a country where we have in recent decades had one of the worst records in the world for bowel cancer incidence and mortality, and where more than four out of five of us are deficient in vitamin D, the significance of this study is profound.

Experts may say more research is needed, but cancer survivors may not have that time to wait.

Adequate vitamin D may give some protection, and only last week in the excellent Scottish Cancer Prevention Network newsletter, attention was drawn once again to the role of diet and in particular red meat.

Studies by a wide range of respected bodies such as the World Health Organisation, the World Cancer Research Fund and the National Cancer Institute of the US have concluded that eating processed red meat increases the incidence and risk of death from colorectal cancer in particular, but also other cancers.

A recommended level was given as 18 grams a week per 
person.

Scotland needs to be brave and take a stand by promoting adequate vitamin D levels and reducing red meat consumption.

These are simple and very cheap measures that could help build a stronger, leaner and greener nation. How long do we have to wait?

Caroline McManus

Newmills Road

Edinburgh