We are turning off our TV’s, shutting down our computer screens and leaving the daily newspaper on the breakfast table – unread! These days, the news can just be too depressing. Recently, I’ve adopted the habit of just glancing at the front page headlines, then perusing the Sports section and finally ending up at daily NY Times Crossword Puzzle! Sometimes, I might even add a little of the comic section in when I’m feeling adventurous.
But alas- some good news!
By making a simple lifestyle habit such as increasing your level of Vitamin D, you may reduce your risk of breast cancer by over 80%. When I read this headline, I was excited. As many of you know, this year has been a challenge with my diagnosis of Stage 1 Breast Cancer. Luckily, this was diagnosed early via 3-D tomosynthesis which showed an asymmetry – later to be diagnosed as invasive breast cancer. I am happy to report that I am doing very well! For those of you who may not be completely up to date with this journey, please refer to my earlier blogs regarding details.
Let’s get back to the study. For years, researchers have known there was a connection between Vitamin D and breast cancer risk, but it was never quantified to an actual Vitamin D concentration in the serum. The purpose of this study (1) was to investigate the relationship between Vitamin D concentrations, also known as 25(OH)D, and breast cancer risk across a broad range of concentrations among women aged 55 years and older.
Over 5,000 women participated in this pooled cohort study. During the 4- year span, seventy-seven women were diagnosed with breast cancer. After analysis of results, the study showed an approximate 80% lower risk of breast cancer in women with 25(OH) D concentrations greater than or equal to 60 ng/ml than women with concentrations less than 20 ng/ml, adjusting for age, Body Mass Index, smoking status, and calcium supplement intake over 4 years.
Here’s a graph showing the decrease in breast cancer risk with increasing Vitamin D levels.
Where do we get Vitamin D from?
For many of us, the recommended value of 400-800 IU/day is far too low to achieve a level of 60 ng/ml and above. Thus, supplementation may be needed. But first, I recommend that each of you get a Vitamin D level checked (a simple blood test) to evaluate your status. Appropriate supplementation can then be determined – but be sure to consult with your physician before starting any supplementation. Too much Vitamin D (levels above 100 ng/ml) can be harmful for your health.
Let’s all do our best at staying healthy, keeping Vitamin D levels at 60 ng/ml and decreasing our risk of developing any types of cancer!
In health and happiness,
– Dr. Diana