According to a new study conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Center, low levels of vitamin D are linked to more aggressive tumors and poorer outcomes for breast cancer patients. Many oncologists have long suspected these findings.
In this first major study to research vitamin D and breast cancer progression, researchers linked vitamin D deficiencies with weak scores on every biological marker that helps physicians assess breast cancer outcome.
“There has been suspicion that vitamin D is related to breast health in some way, although the particular pathway is still unknown,” says Dr. Laurie Kirstein, a breast surgeon at New York City’s Beth Israel Medical Center. Many oncologists are already following vitamin D levels in their breast cancer patients, and recommending supplements for low levels. To link vitamin D levels to the aggressiveness…of breast cancer is an interesting finding; one that should be validated with a controlled trial.”
The human body makes vitamin D from sunlight on exposed skin. Other sources of the element include fatty fish and fish oils, fortified dairy products, and oral supplements. Research has shown that African-American and premenopausal women tend to have lower levels of vitamin D when compared with white and older women.
“The magnitude of the findings was quite surprising,” said lead researcher Luke J. Peppone, Ph.D., research assistant professor of Radiation Oncology at the URMC James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. “Based on these results, doctors should strongly consider monitoring vitamin D levels among breast cancer patients and correcting them as needed.”
Take the first step in assessing your vitamin D deficiency risk factors here. You can begin researching more information about the link between vitamin D and breast health through The American Cancer Society and Internal Medicine News.
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July 6, 2011