Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Ultraviolet exposure from sunlight and other sources is the major risk factor for the development of malignant melanoma of the skin. Exposure to sunlight is also the main pathway the human body obtains vitamin D. Cell proliferation, differentiation and inhibition is mediated in part by vitamin D, leading researchers to suspect vitamin D has a protective role in various cancers, including melanoma. The purpose of the project was to review the current available literature focusing on the relationship between vitamin D levels and melanoma outcomes. The review of the literature was designed to address the clinical question: What is the evidence to show that vitamin D levels, either acquired naturally via sun exposure or through dietary intake, have an effect on malignant melanoma outcomes? Best practices were identified based upon the current evidence between vitamin D and melanoma outcomes, providing the basis for clinical practice recommendations for skin cancer prevention. The project findings regarding vitamin D and risks/benefits of melanoma prevention were presented to primary care providers. Results from the analysis were mixed, showing adequate vitamin D levels were protective against cancer in general, though not statistically significant to melanoma. Intermittent moderate sun exposure was linked to a decreased risk for mortality in patients with melanoma. Information derived from this review show a clear need for more studies regarding vitamin D and melanoma, including skin cancer prevention and education. Health care providers need to be aware of the latest recommendations for skin cancer prevention to enhance patient outcomes. Information derived from this review is expected to contribute to best clinical practices in patient education on the role of vitamin D and the prevention of melanoma.

Keywords: melanoma, 25(0H)D, skin cancer, VDR, vitamin D, UV exposure