Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Vitamin D Linked to Breast Cancer Survival Rates

This is not actually news - the association has already been made - but it contributes to mounting evidence that helps warrant more research on the topic. The study does not imply that low Vitamin D can cause breast cancer but there does seem to be an association between breast cancer and low Vitamin D and, as they say in this article, it's something oncologists should be paying attention to. It has been my experience at our Saskatoon Cancer Centre that oncologists are not interested in our Vitamin D levels. The only reason mine was tested was because my Naturopath requested it and because I, after all my research into breast cancer, felt it was important to optimize my Vitamin D levels as well. It surprises me that the Cancer Centre doesn't pay more attention to Vitamin D levels in patients.  My previous doctor never tested my Vitamin D levels during annual physicals and only, after my diagnosis, had it tested at the request of my Naturopath.  That said, I think my new GP is more likely to test my Vitamin D as a standard practice.

A couple of other points are that many studies I've read about say it matters more what your Vitamin D levels are at the time of diagnosis, suggesting that it might not make much difference to one's prognosis to bring your Vitamin D levels up after you've been diagnosed.  On the other hand, I don't think it's known for sure, so I have aimed at maintaining an optimal level of Vitamin D just in case it does help prevent a recurrence. It's a bonus that there are many other health reasons to aim for optimal in terms of Vitamin D and not to settle for what our department of health proclaims to be the "normal range".  "Optimal" is considerably higher than what has been determined as "normal".  

11 June 2012

A new study published in Carcinogenesis found vitamin D levels are linked to breast cancer survival rates.  The researchers found that out of 1,800 women, participants with vitamin D levels above 30ng/mL were about half as likely to die within 5 years of diagnosis compared to women with levels below 30ng/mL. 

With every 10ng/mL increase, survival past 5 years increased by 20%. The results were still significant when the researchers adjusted for weight and age. 

Also, women with higher vitamin D levels during the study were more likely to have smaller tumors. 

The authors recognize that the study implies association, not a cause-effect relationship. Regardless, vitamin D is definitely something oncologists should pay attention to. 

Via: Vitamin D Council > News:

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