Healthy levels of vitamin D may increase breast cancer outcomes

by Ernie Mundell and Robert Predet
healthday reporter

THURSDAY, June 10, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Breast cancer patients who have vitamin D – “Sunshine vitamins” – they tend to have better long-term outcomes when diagnosed, a new study finds.

Together with the results of prior research, the new findings suggest “an ongoing benefit for patients who maintain adequate levels”. [of vitamin D] through and beyond breast cancer treatment,” said study lead author Song Yao. He is a professor of oncology in the Department of Cancer Prevention and Control at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, NY.

The study also found that black women had the lowest levels of vitamin D, which may help explain their generally poor results. breast cancer diagnosis, Yao’s group said.

The findings were presented at the recent virtual annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

An oncologist involved with the research said the findings could offer women an easier new way to fight Breast Cancer.


Vitamin D “can be found in certain foods and is made when sunlight strikes human skin,” explained Dr. Ellis Police, a breast cancer researcher at Northwell Health’s Katz Institute for Women’s Health in Westchester, NY.

“This could be an important intervention opportunity in breast cancer outcomes for all women, but especially in black populations,” she said.

The study involved nearly 4,000 patients whose vitamin D levels were checked and followed for an average of about 10 years.

The patients were divided into three levels: vitamin D deficiency (less than 20 nanograms per milliliter in the blood test); insufficient (20 to 29 ng/mL); or sufficient (30 or more ng/mL).

The study was not designed to prove cause and effect. However, it was found that – compared to women with nutrient deficiencies – women with adequate levels of vitamin D were 27% less likely to die from any cause during the 10 years of follow-up, and 22 percent less likely to die from breast cancer. % were less likely. In a special way.

The team also found that the association between vitamin D levels and breast cancer outcomes was similar, regardless of the estrogen receptor (ER) status of the tumor. The association appeared somewhat stronger between underweight patients and those diagnosed with more advanced breast cancer.


“Our findings from this large, observational cohort of breast cancer survivors with long follow-up provide the strongest evidence for maintaining adequate vitamin D levels in breast cancer patients, particularly Black women and those of more advanced stage.” in patients with the disease,” Yao said in a Roswell Park news release.

Dr. Paul Barron is chief of breast surgery and director of the breast cancer program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He was not involved in the new research, but called it “an important study” because it shows the importance of adequate vitamin D levels in improving long-term survival for breast cancer patients.

For her part, police said the findings highlight the importance of getting enough vitamin D for women.

The difference in outcomes between black and white breast cancer patients “narrowed with higher vitamin D levels at the time of diagnosis,” she said. “This could be an important step in efforts to level the playing field for this disease: Let the sunshine in!”


Because these findings were presented at a medical meeting, they should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

more information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more Breast Cancer.

SOURCES: Alice Police, MD, breast cancer researcher, Northwell Health’s Katz Institute for Women’s Health, Westchester, NY; Paul L. Baron, MD, chief of breast surgery, director, Breast Cancer Program, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, news release, June 4, 2021


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