Breast Cancer and Vitamin D

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Now I have heard 2 times in 3 days the same message.  This is a message for all of us to take notice.

Does vitamin D deficiency contribute to cancer?

Now most medical doctors feel safe recommending vitamin D as a supplement because of the research data showing we are deficient in it.  They believe this is one of the vitamin and minerals that we are fairly certain are safe for anyone.

They are seeing a link in this deficiency to some cancers.  Here is an excerpt from a news report this week. 

“This study found that vitamin D deficiency is very common among women with breast cancer, and it suggests that vitamin D deficiency is linked to poorer outcomes in these women,” said Nancy Davidson, director of the breast cancer program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Goodwin recommended that women who are diagnosed with breast cancer should take a simple blood test to determine their body’s vitamin D levels.

“If you’re a woman with breast cancer, it’s probably worthwhile having vitamin D levels checked. If they’re deficient, they should take more to get it in the range that we think is beneficial,” she said. “This study is significant because it tells us this may be one thing women can do to improve their prognosis,” said Anne McTiernan of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Even with strong evidence that vitamin D can help prevent – and, in the current study, fight off – various cancers, researchers are still unclear on the mechanism by which the chemical works.

“We know from basic science studies that breast cancer cells have vitamin D receptors and can interact with vitamin D,” Goodwin said.
Some scientists have suggested that the nutrient might play a role in regulating programmed cell death, without which cells can turn cancerous.

“Vitamin D is pretty unique in its action in that it does enter the cancer cells and induces them to undergo a cell death process,” Walsh said. “The effects of vitamin D on breast cancer cells are very similar to the established drug Tamoxifen that many women take for breast cancer.”
In a demonstration for ABC News, Walsh added vitamin D to a breast cancer culture, causing the cells to shrivel up and die.

Breast cancer cells are not the only cells with vitamin D receptors. In fact, nearly every cell in the body interacts with the vitamin in some way.

Daily vitamin D recommendations vary widely by country, with the United States and Canada recommending 200 IU per day for children and 400 IU for adults. But many researchers, and even the Canadian Cancer Society, have recommended that this value be raised to 1,000 IU per day. While 400 IU may be sufficient to maintain bone health, scientists say, higher levels are needed to provide cancer-fighting benefits.
Sources for this story include: www.washingtonpost.com ; www.abcnews.go.com ; www.baltimoresun.com.


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