Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among women worldwide, and the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) has found that postmenopausal women have an increased risk for vitamin D deficiency as well as a higher rate of obesity at the time of breast cancer diagnosis.

Researchers conducted a study of 600 postmenopausal women with and without a breast cancer diagnosis to determine whether vitamin D concentration may play a role in the development of cancer. The study was conducted based on the belief that vitamin D may reduce cancer risk by preventing cell proliferation. This study was published online in Menopause.1

Results from the study show that women with breast cancer were found to have lower vitamin D levels and higher rates of obesity compared with women without breast cancer. According to a NAMS press release, similar studies have found that women in a higher quartile of vitamin D concentrations had a 50% lower death rate from breast cancer than those with lower vitamin D concentration levels.

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“Although published literature is inconsistent about the benefits of vitamin D levels and breast cancer, this study and others suggest that higher levels of vitamin D in the body are associated with lowered breast cancer risk,” says Dr JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of NAMS, in the press release. “Vitamin D may play a role in controlling breast cancer cells or stopping them from growing.”

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  1. Machado MRM, de Sousa Almeida-Filho B, De Luca Vespoli H, Schmitt EB, Nachas-Neto J, Nacha EAP. Low pretreatment serum concentration of vitamin D at breast cancer diagnosis in postmenopausal women [published online September 17, 2018]. Menopause. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001203
  2. Obesity and vitamin D deficiency may indicate greater risk for breast cancer [news release]. Cleveland, OH: The North American Menopause Society. September 19, 2018. Accessed September 18, 2018.