This is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and as promised, I’m giving you another post on this dreaded disease. If you are like most women who have had a cancer diagnosis, you probably look for ways and means to rid yourself of the disease in the most natural way. Taking herbs is a popular choice, but prevention is always better than cure, goes the cliché, therefore once you have been diagnosed, you can no longer prevent it. Right? Well, bear with me.
Should you take vitamins?
So, how about vitamins? Reports about the necessity of taking vitamins are usually mixed: some say you should, others say they are a waste of money. However, there is one vitamin that has received star ratings in recent studies because of its potential to eliminate your risk of getting breast (and other types of) cancer. It’s Vitamin D, found in cheese, fortified milk, fatty fish and sunshine has been found to be effective in preventing breast cancer. See this poston vitamins that I wrote recently.
How high should your level be?
“Generally speaking, research has shown that once you reach a minimum serum vitamin D level of 40 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), your risk for cancer diminishes by 67 percent, compared to having a level of 20 ng/ml or less… Several studies also show that higher vitamin D levels are protective against breast cancer specifically. Importantly, a 2005 study showed women with vitamin D levels above 60 ng/mL have an 83 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those below 20 ng/mL, and I cannot think of any other strategy that can offer that kind of risk reduction,” writes Dr. Joseph Mercola in his article Why A Vitamin D Test Is More Important Than A Mammogram.
Vit. D prevents other types of cancer
The focus of this post is breast cancer, however the National Institute of Healthstates, “The high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, combined with the discovery of increased risks of certain types of cancer in those who are deficient, suggest that vitamin D deficiency may account for several thousand premature deaths from colon, breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer annually. This discovery creates a new impetus for ensuring adequate Vitamin D intake in order to reduce the risk of cancer.”
Who might be at risk?
The National Institute of Health states that Vitamin D deficiency occurs in all races, and is particularly high among Black Americans. It seems the more pigmentation you have, the more likely you are to be Vitamin D deficient. It would appear that the same holds true for residents of the northern United States where they receive less ultraviolet B (UVB) from the sun during the cooler months. Using sunscreen, the NIH report states, may prevent skin cancer, but at the same time, it completely blocks photosynthesis of vitamin D, resulting in deficiency, unless it is taken orally.
Vitamin D after diagnosis
To return to my question above, once you have been diagnosed, you can no longer prevent it, right? Dr. Mercola states, “Vitamin D also increases your chances of surviving cancer if you do get it, and evidence suggests adding vitamin D to the conventional treatment for cancer can boost the effectiveness of the treatment.” Why A Vitamin D Test Is More Important Than A Mammogram
So, in addition to getting your annual mammogram, the next time you do your blood work, ask your doctor about your Vitamin D level. If it’s under 40ng/dl, ask him to recommend a Vitamin D supplement.