FIRST PERSON | The University of California, San Diego School of Medicine published the results of a recent study that shows a link between low vitamin D serum levels and premenopausal breast cancer. Women with low vitamin D serum levels are at a greatly increased risk for breast cancer. The study looked at 1,200 blood samples before coming to this conclusion. I wish that this information was known several years ago. My vitamin D serum levels were extremely low at the time of my breast cancer diagnosis. It appears that Sharif B. Mohr, Ph. D et al, are onto something.
A total of 1,200 blood samples were examined for this study. 600 of the samples were from women who developed breast cancer and 600 were from women who stayed cancer-free. After examining the samples, researchers concluded that premenopausal women with low vitamin D serum levels three months before diagnosis had three times the risk of getting breast cancer than those with the highest blood serum levels.
Researchers say that although they do not completely understand the role vitamin D plays in the development of breast cancer, it is believed that it has to do with the tumor's ability to form blood vessels. Prior studies with a time frame of greater than 90 days have not shown a conclusive link between vitamin D and breast cancer risk.
To me, this all makes sense and low vitamin D levels may have caused my breast cancer. I have several risk factors, like drinking alcohol and being above my ideal weight. Bloodwork done after my biopsy showed very low levels of vitamin D. This might have been the catalyst needed to set breast cancer in motion.
The good news is that it is very easy to find out if you are deficient in vitamin D. Ask your physician to order a blood test to screen for vitamin D levels. If your serum level is less than ideal, a simple supplement can bring it back up.
The researchers concluded that women with vitamin D blood serum levels of 50 ng/ml or higher reduced their risk of breast cancer by 50 percent. Had I known this earlier, maybe I could have avoided getting this awful disease.
Lynda Altman was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2011. She writes a series for Yahoo! Shine called "My Battle With Breast Cancer."