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Vitamin D: A weapon against breast cancer
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Vitamin D: A weapon against breast cancer

Vitamin D: A weapon against breast cancer

If you're a woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, all the more reason to have your vitamin-D level checked: research suggests a link between low levels and recurrence of, or death from, the cancer. Evidently, low levels of vitamin D are quite common in women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Naturally, mainstream researchers are quick to back-pedal away from making a recommendation of taking more vitamin D supplements. Some doctors would actually rather give you chemo than supplements—I guess they're reluctant to take money out of Big Pharma's pockets.

Research has already noted a link between the risk of breast cancer and levels of vitamin D. But researchers are a nervous wreck over recommending getting "too much" vitamin D.

But before they worry about "too much," how about focusing on getting your vitamin D levels "just right?" Sure, you can always overdo a good thing, but the point is to know where you are today.

I've been talking about the importance of vitamin D for years, back before it became "trendy" to even think about. I check my patients' 25-hydroxy vitamin D level. Levels below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) are deficient, 20 to 30 borderline, and 30 to 50 healthy. I have sent breast-cancer patients of mine to an eminent integrative oncologist in New York City. He liked to keep his patients' vitamin-D levels between 50 and 60 ng/ml. Based on the available evidence, this seems both reasonable and safe, specifically for higher risk patients with a family history of breast cancer, who have had breast cancer themselves, or who are currently being treated for breast cancer.

You'll want to work closely with your doctor to get your level back up in the healthy range, which may mean multiple tests to gauge your progress. Be patient, but be diligent.
DR.I
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4 Comments
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492898_tn?1222247198
I am aware of all you are saying, because I had my Vit. D level checked when I was experiencing severe pain and weakness in one of my legs, and it was 15.
I was also diagnosed with bc a year ago and I am sure I was deficient then. It makes much sense to perhaps have women checked routinely for low vit D, and especially if they are diagnosed with bc, or at high risk, and/or even without.  But, I think it is premature, or irrational at this point to say that either bc is caused by the deficiency and/or can be cured by bringing back those levels to normal. I think your argument that doctors should skip chemotherapy and instead prescribe Vit D, or that oncologists do prescribe the one over the other based on their loyalty to big pharma is a really low, and naive accusation.

You do have a good point though. you are just taking it too far.
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Avatar_f_tn
I should have read the page before I posted my thread below because I posted on vit D also. I do agree that levels of D need to be checked, but I also know that at this present time drugs need to be used in treating cancer patients. Unfortunately not enough money being directed into 'natural cures' and those doctors that have made progress in that area are not given the support or attention they deserve.

I do believe that the best way to receive vitamin D is from sunshine but depending where you live that is not always possible. Interesting that in breast milk vitamin D is the only vitamin that is not found. I guess thats shows us how important getting a little sunshine everyday is.

Take care,
MO

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Avatar_f_tn
I concur.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago.  Just right before that I did a bone density scan for osteoperosis and found I had osteopenia, then the doc decided to check my vit. d level.  I had none.  I was completely depleted of Vit. D.  so, I am now on prescription strength Vit. D 50,000IU's/  So ladies, make sure you have vit. D.kj
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Avatar_m_tn
I just posted a question/comment in the general forum before finding this discussion.  After having my thyroid and hormone levels checked last year (all normal), I found a new primary care physician who wanted to do more to find out why I was having chronic fatigue and other symptoms--I was frustrated with doctors writing it off as "stress" or "perimenopause."  My level was <7 and for the past two weeks I've been taking 50,000 IU daily, with that same dosage weekly for the next four weeks, after which they'll recheck my levels.    

After all that I've read the past few weeks, I'd prefer to take Vit.D3 supplements (I purchased some that are 1,000 IU) instead of the prescription D2.  I agree that women need more information about Vitamin D deficiency, and the links for various types of cancer.  I was shocked that I was deficient.  I walk our dog twice a day so I get sun exposure (albeit early a.m. and evening, and often in pretty shady areas), I eat salmon regularly, take a multivitamin pretty regularly.  I think more people need more than the "recommended" 400 IU daily.  

I'm in this forum because I had an abnomal mammogram last week, and my diagnostic mammogram yesterday revealed a microcalcification cluster in my left breast ("indeterminate").  I have a biopsy scheduled for next Wednesday.  I'm a little concerned because the radiologist absolutely recommended a biopsy ASAP versus waiting.  Does that mean that they are really concerned that it could be serious?  
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