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Thursday 27th October 2016

Vitamin D slows breast cancer

17th October 2006

19092006_vitamin_D.jpgA new study by researchers at Imperial College London suggests that high levels of vitamin D may help slow the progression of breast cancer.

The small study of women with the illness found that vitamin D levels are lower in women with advanced breast cancer than those in the early stages of the disease. The researchers have concluded that vitamin D therefore has a role in the progression of breast cancer.

Previous studies have shown that the incidence of breast cancer is greater in women who live in higher latitudes and have less sun exposure.  The body produces vitamin D in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight. Laboratory tests have also shown that vitamin D can stop cancer cells from dividing.

Although the scientists do not know whether the low levels of vitamin D are a cause or a consequence of the cancer, their findings and the results of other studies suggest that low levels of vitamin D may be involved in the progression of early breast cancer to more advanced stages.  The next thing the researchers plan to do is to try and understand the potential causes and mechanisms underlying their findings and the precise consequences at a molecular level.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, with more than a million cases detected worldwide each year.


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