In a new study from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, researchers found that breast cancer patients who have adequate levels of vitamin D—the “sunshine vitamin”—at the time of their diagnosis have better long-term outcomes.
The findings suggest an ongoing benefit for patients who maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D through and beyond breast cancer treatment. These findings could offer women a simple new way to fight breast cancer.
Vitamin D “can be found in some foods and is made when sunlight strikes human skin.
In the study, the team examined nearly 4,000 patients who had their vitamin D levels checked and were followed for a median of almost 10 years.
The patients were divided into three levels: vitamin D deficiency (less than 20 nanograms per milliliter in blood tests); insufficient (20 to 29 ng/ml); or sufficient (30 or more ng/ml).
The team found that—compared to women deficient in the nutrient—women with sufficient levels of vitamin D had 27% lower odds of dying of any cause during the 10 years of follow-up, and 22% lower odds for death from breast cancer specifically.
The team also found that the association between vitamin D levels and breast cancer outcomes was similar regardless of the tumor’s estrogen receptor (ER) status.
The association appeared somewhat stronger among lower-weight patients and those diagnosed with more advanced breast cancers.
The findings provide the strongest evidence to date for maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels in breast cancer patients, particularly among patients with more advanced-stage disease.
The study shows the significance of sufficient vitamin D levels towards improving long-term survival for breast cancer patients.
The findings highlight the importance for women of adequate vitamin D.
The study was presented at the recent virtual annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. One author of the study is Song Yao.
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