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Healthy Levels of Vitamin D May Boost Breast Cancer Outcomes

By Ernie Mundell and Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporters THURSDAY, June 10, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Breast cancer patients who have adequate levels of vitamin D — the “sunshine vitamin” — at the time of their diagnosis have better long-term outcomes, a new study finds.Combined with the results of prior research, the new findings suggest “an…

By Ernie Mundell and Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporters

THURSDAY, June 10, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Breast cancer patients with sufficient levels of vitamin D — the”sunshine vitamin” — in the time of their diagnosis possess improved long-term effects, a new study finds.

Combined with the results of prior research, the new findings suggest”an ongoing benefit for patients who maintain sufficient levels [of vitamin D] through and beyond breast cancer treatment,” said study lead author Song Yao. He’s a professor of oncology in the department of cancer prevention and control in Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, N.Y.

The analysis also found that Black women had the lowest vitamin D levels, which could help explain their generally poorer outcomes after a breast cancer diagnosis, Yao’s group said.

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

One oncologist unconnected to the research said the findings may offer girls a simple new way to combat breast cancer.

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Vitamin D”can be found in some foods and is made when sunlight strikes human skin,” explained Dr. Alice Police, a breast cancer researcher in Northwell Health’s Katz Institute for Women’s Health, in Westchester, N.Y.

“This may be an opportunity for an important intervention in breast cancer outcomes for all women, but particularly in the Black population,” she explained.

The research involved nearly 4,000 patients that had their own vitamin D levels checked and were followed for a median of nearly 10 years.

The patients were divided into three levels: vitamin D deficient (less than 20 nanograms per milliliter in blood tests); insufficient (20 into 29 ng/ml); or adequate (30 or more ng/ml).

The analysis was not designed to show cause and effect. But it found that — compared to women deficient in the nutrient — women with adequate levels of vitamin D had 27% lower odds of dying of any cause during the 10 years of followup, and 22percent reduced chances for death from breast cancer specifically.

The team also discovered that the association between vitamin D levels and breast cancer results was similar regardless of the tumor’s estrogen receptor (ER) status. The association seemed somewhat stronger among lower-weight patients and those diagnosed with advanced breast cancers.

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“Our findings from this big, observational cohort

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