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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.
â€śThere has been suspicion that vitamin D is related to breast health in some way, although the particular pathway is still unknown,â€ť says Dr. Laurie Kirstein, a breast surgeon at New York Cityâ€™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.â€ť
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.
â€śThe magnitude of the findings was quite surprising,â€ť said lead researcher Luke J. Peppone, Ph.D., research assistant professor of Radiation Oncology at the URMC James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. â€śBased on these results, doctors should strongly consider monitoring vitamin D levels among breast cancer patients and correcting them as needed.â€ť
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