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Vitamin D and breast cancer

Unfortunately many women suffer from breast cancer, which is a malignant tumor. During breast cancer, group of cancerous cells grow in the breast (usually in one breast) and into other areas around breasts. Scientists mentioned that the frequency of breast cancer is increasing in XXI century, but at the same time, the effectiveness of treatment is also growing. Nowadays millions of women already survived the breast cancer not only thanks to effective modern treatment but also because of improved early diagnosis as well as because of awareness of several factors which prevent breast cancer and help women to survive after treatment. Several scientists demonstrated Vitamin D responsibility for breast cancer development. What we know about it?

It is well known that some risk factors for breast cancer cannot be prevented such as age, being female or having genetic predisposition; but there are several risk factors which can be easily prevented such as extra weight, not healthy lifestyle, use of birth control pills, etc.

Vitamin D

Today we would like to speak about the importance of Vitamin D in breast cancer prevention and survival.

Several scientists demonstrated the link between vitamin D and breast cancer. It was noted that women with breast cancer tend to have low levels of vitamin D in their body and women with higher levels of vitamin D are less likely to develop breast cancer. It is important to mention that breast cancer suffering women with higher levels of vitamin D have higher chances for survival – they usually have smaller tumors and are less likely to die from breast cancer.

High vitamin D levels may increase breast cancer survival

Science about Vitamin D and breast cancer

  • Women with breast cancer are more likely to have low levels of Vit D in their body;
  • Post-menopausal women who don’t get very much Vit D may be more likely to develop breast cancer later in life;
  • Women who have breast cancer are more likely to develop bigger tumors and are more likely to have recurrent breast cancer if they have low levels of Vit D;
  • In women with breast cancer, low levels of Vit D are linked to worse outcomes – big sizes of tumors, cancer spreading to other body parts, doubled risk of their cancer coming back, and an almost doubled risk of death compared to women with high Vit D levels;
  • Women with higher Vit D levels are less likely to develop breast cancer and less likely to die from breast cancer.

High levels of Vit D may halve breast cancer fatality. Vitamin D metabolites increase communication between cells by activating a protein that halts aggressive cell division. As long as Vit D receptors are present, tumor growth is prevented and kept from expanding its blood supply. Vitamin D receptors are not lost until a tumor is very advanced. This is the reason for better survival in patients whose Vit D blood levels are high.

Prof. Cedric F. Garland of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine

Vitamin D and breast cancer prevention

Several scientific studies found that women with low levels of Vit D are more likely to develop breast cancer. It was also noted that menopausal women with low levels of Vit D have increased risk of getting breast cancer compared to menopausal women with high levels of Vit D.

There is a growing amount of recent research that shows a link between Vit D levels and risk of developing breast cancer, meaning that getting enough Vit D may have a protective effect in helping to prevent breast cancer.

Researchers have found how vitamin D might have a role in breast cancer. Vit D receptors are found on the surface of a cell where they receive chemical signals. By attaching themselves to a receptor, these chemical signals direct a cell to act in a certain way – to divide or die.

There are Vit D receptors in breast tissue, and vitamin D can bind to these receptors. This can cause cells like oncogenes to die or stop growing, and can stop the cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body. Therefore, it is thought that Vit D may help in protecting against breast cancer, by making cells in the breast smarter.

In spite of numbers of post factum observation studies, today there is not enough evidence that Vitamin D can prevent breast cancer in all cases. It is not clear whether low Vit D levels cause breast cancer or lead to worse outcomes, and therefore whether or not Vit D can help to prevent or treat breast cancer.

But in all cases Vit D is very useful for several health conditions and it would be recommended to keep at least normal levels of Vit D in the blood. Vitamin D may reduce the risk of heart disease, bone fractures and even depression. Vit D supplements cannot harm your health – it is unlikely to make your breast cancer worse or cause you any harm, as long as you take less than 10,000 IU per day.

Vitamin D normal range is 30-80 ng/ml

The National Institutes of Health recommend that adults up to the age of 70 should have a vitamin D intake of 600 IU each day, while those over 70 should have 800 IU each day.

It is important to highlight that if you already have breast cancer, you SHOULD NOT take Vitamin D in place of your complex treatment medications. But you can discuss the issue with your doctor for additional Vit D supplements or after treatment use of Vit D – it can increase your chances for survival.

Breast cancer patients with high levels of the vitamin in their blood are more likely to survive the disease than patients with low levels.

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