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Breast cancer news: Vitamin d deficiency may cause breast cancer

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By David Liu, PHD

Tuesday Dec 19, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- A recent study in Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests that vitamin D deficiency may cause breast cancer or at least play a significant role in the carcinogenesis of the breast or development of the disease.

S. Imtiaz at Department of Medical Oncology, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Lahore, Pakistan and colleagues conducted the case-control study and found almost all breast cancer patients were vitamin D deficient.

Early epidemiological studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency can be a cause for breast cancer.

The current study included 90 breast cancer patients aged 46 years and equal number of age-matched healthy females as controls.   Serum 25(OH)2D levels and CT bone mineral density were measured.  Both cases and controls had similar marital status, menopausal, residential area, parda observing status, and body mass index distribution.

The mean serum vitamin D level found in breast cancer patients was 9.3 ng/ml compared to 14.9 ng/ml.  Vitamin D deficiency was found in 95.6% of breast cancer patients, compared to 77% in healthy people.

CT bone mineral density was not found associated with vitamin D deficiency.

In response,  Ashraf Karbasi and Amin Saburi from Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran cited studies to confirm that lower levels of vitamin D can be asscoaited with higher risk of developing breast cancer and dying from the disease.

Karbasi and Saburi also commented that the anticancer effect of vitamin D has something to do with its role in enhancing the immune system which is weaken by  alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase.

The serum vitamin D level may affect the production of the vitamin D binding proteins such as S100 and GC protein group which play a significant role in malignancy and neoplasm progression, the authors said.

One in eight women are expected to develop breast cancer in their lifetime in the United States.  Each year, more than 230,000 women are diagnosed with the disease which kills about 37,000 annually, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Breast cancer in most cases are preventable.  Many lifestyle or dietary factors can be modified to reduce the risk or improve the prognosis of the disease.

Although the medical circle denies that vitamin D can be used to treat cancer like breast cancer, hundreds of companies and universities  if not thousands are conducting experiments to see vitamin D analogs are effective in fighting breast cancer.  If vitamin D is not effective,  such research may not be initiated in the first place.  

The only problem with vitamin D is that when a high dose is used, it can cause high levels of serum calcium, which is not wanted.

Regardless, the least breast cancer patients can do is maintain a sufficiently high level of serum vitamin D, which is effective at fighting breast cancer, but does not pose much of any toxicity.

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