Vitamin D May Improve Breast Cancer Survival

A new study links higher Vitamin D levels with improved survival in patients with breast cancer.




As I extensively discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, Vitamin D is the last vitamin left standing tall based upon the findings of recent high quality cancer prevention research studies.  Other than Vitamin D, virtually every other vitamin has been shown, by solid clinical research data, to have little or no favorable impact on cancer risk.  Based upon extensive research, Vitamin D appears to be particularly effective in reducing the risk of cancers of the GI tract, including, especially, colorectal cancer.  When it comes to breast cancer, the clinical research findings for Vitamin D tend to be mixed, with some studies showing a decreased risk of developing breast cancer (and improved survival in patients already diagnosed with breast cancer) associated with higher blood levels of this hormone-like vitamin, while others studies have failed to show that these beneficial effects are associated with increased Vitamin D levels.  Now, a new update from the December 2012 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (the largest annual meeting dedicated exclusively to breast cancer research in the world) strongly suggests that higher Vitamin D levels, when combined with chemotherapy and the bone-strengthening drug zoledronic acid (ZOMETA®), are associated with improved survival in patients with breast cancer.

The ongoing prospective AZURE breast cancer study was not directly designed to evaluate the role of Vitamin D in the treatment of breast cancer, but among the more than 3,000 women who were enrolled in this British study, some received Vitamin D supplements and some did not.  Therefore, a secondary aim of this study was to assess the impact of Vitamin D levels on clinical outcomes in this large group of women with breast cancer.

Out of the 3,360 women who volunteered to participate in the AZURE trial, blood samples of 872 of these women were available; and these blood samples were, therefore, evaluated by measuring Vitamin D levels.  As this study was conducted in the United Kingdom, where sunlight is notoriously scarce, it was not surprising to learn that only 10 percent of the women in this AZURE trial subgroup had blood levels of Vitamin D at or above the “sufficient” level of 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).

The primary aim of the AZURE study was to assess the impact of the bone-strengthening drug zoledronic acid on clinical outcomes in patients previously diagnosed with breast cancer.  As published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year, there appeared to be no significant differences in outcomes between women randomized to receive zoledronic acid and women who received placebo (sugar) pills while undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer.  However, in this new update from the AZURE trial, postmenopausal breast cancer patients who were randomized to receive zoledronic acid and who had blood levels of Vitamin D above 30 ng/mL were 11 percent less likely to develop spread (metastasis) of their breast cancer to their bones when compared to the postmenopausal women who also took zoledronic acid but who also had low Vitamin D levels.  (As breast cancer metastasizes to the bones more commonly than any other site in the body, this apparent Vitamin D-associated 11 percent reduction in bone metastases in postmenopausal patients being treated with chemotherapy and zoledronic acid would be expected to improve survival as well.)

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America, where I work as a Surgical Oncologist, and as the director of our breast cancer program, we routinely measure Vitamin D levels on all patients, and those who are found to be deficient in this important vitamin are routinely placed on Vitamin D supplements.  The updated findings of the AZURE breast cancer trial, as well as similarly positive research findings for other types of cancer, suggest that this approach to monitoring and, when necessary, supplementing Vitamin D levels may be an important adjunct to standard cancer therapies.



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Dr. Wascher’s latest video:

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At this time, more than 8 percent of Americans are unemployed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is now more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, 2.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


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2 Comments on "Vitamin D May Improve Breast Cancer Survival"

  1. breast cancer physical therapy on Sun, 3rd Feb 2013 4:31 am 

    […] Would the advice of an old man dying of breast cancer prevention? 15 years ago, I worked in the Dep… I worked in the Department of Physical Therapy. our local hospital. Unfortunately we were unable rehabilitation worldwide. In this case, I visited a die 2 times a day just to move together to avoid entering rigid. He knew he was dying and he agreed with that. We have had many good discussions. But that is stuck in my head and not leave, is the conversation he had with his wife. She died of breast cancer for several years. He urged me to stop using deodorant. His theory was that because it prevents sweating, these toxins remain in this area. The increased chances of developing breast cancer. Makes sense to me. I think every time you apply. What do you think? Antiperspirant link has been debunked. First, the sweat glands are not there to remove toxins from your body (This work liver and kidneys), but to refresh your body. Sweat is mostly water and some electrolytes. And think about this, if the toxins were a problem, then everyone the liver and kidneys become cancerous, because they eliminate toxins. It all started in an email years previously distributed. There is no truth in it. If it makes you feel better, not using antiperspirants. But the chances of getting breast cancer are still about 1 in 7 or 8. Fatigue Common Side Effect Of Breast Cancer […]

  2. admin on Sun, 3rd Feb 2013 9:02 pm 

    This has been studied, and there is no evidence that deodorants or antiperspirants cause breast cancer.

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