Posts Tagged ‘research’

I don’t know why it took me so long to discover the Positives About Negative blog by Patricia Prijatel, who writes as a survivor of triple negative breast cancer. Her blog is full of information about this type of cancer.

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On April 21, 2009, Living Beyond Breast Cancer presented an audioconference called Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: Treatment Update and Tools for Healthy Living

“Get an overview of the latest information, research and treatments for triple-negative breast cancers. Learn more about risk factors and screening, and get practical advice on nutritional and lifestyle choices that can help reduce your risk of recurrence.”

Link to download the podcast

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Since I accidentally discovered the Mayo Clinic report that breast cancer survivors with asthma have a two-fold risk of mets to the lung, I have been to Arizona and discovered that my asthma didn’t bother me as much while I was there. I didn’t, though, go to Mayo’s to followup.  Why? My insurance company said I hadn’t met the deductible yet this year and I would have to pay for a pulmonologist visit and pulmonary function tests out of my pocket.

Haven’t met my deductible yet this year?! A year of visits with specialists, biopsies, mammograms, ultrasound tests, ob-gyn visits and tests, genetic testing, and all that medicine.  I found out none of my co-pays or payments for those things counted toward my deductible OR my “out of pocket maximum” this year.

Other reasons I didn’t have the testing yet: I changed insurance companies before the end of the year, and my tumor marker tests were good and even in the range for a person who has never smoked, even though I did until about 8 years ago. And my new primary physician was gone all November having surgery.

When I was in Arizona I felt like I could breathe WELL and DEEPLY, and didn’t need to use the inhaler I took along.

I got a flu shot the day after flying home in a sardine can and then was sick for 10 days with a cold and sinus infection.  Being back indoors with a forced air furnace was a drag on my spirits as well as my asthma.  Then it was Thanksgiving and I had company, and now here we are in December and I haven’t gone back to Arizona or talked to the doctors again about the asthma connection, but I started taking my steroid inhaler twice a day.

The reports say that breast cancer patients/ survivors who use steroid inhalers to keep their asthma under control have a better outcome.

My next three-month checkup is in early January.  I’m determined to follow through with this to keep this from being an issue. I don’t want lung mets because I couldn’t control asthma.

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I’m rolling up my sleeves, getting outdoors, and enjoying the sun!  So far I got some petunias, pansies, violets, tomatoes, and lavendar to plant.  I’m cleaning out old beds, and working on the mower to get it started.  Before I had enough energy to do these things, and it was still cold but sunny, I tried to sit out in the sun for 20 minutes a day.

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, one doctor checked my Vitamin D levels and found out they were very low. He recommended that I take 2,000 units of Vitamin D3 each day and I have been taking that amount for a year now.  I had my levels checked a month ago and they were on the low side of normal, so I am continuing to take the same amount, as well as spending time working outdoors in the sunlight.

Last year I read about a study done in Nebraska that said women with low levels of Vitamin D had a higher rate of breast cancer.

Today I read this:

Research now links vitamin D deficiency with a significantly elevated risk of breast cancer. So why isn’t there public outcry to continue funding this breakthrough science?

The research on vitamin D and breast cancer prevention to date is impressive:
• A 2006 paper published in Anticancer Research established that women with higher vitamin D levels are 50 to 70 percent less likely to develop breast cancer.
• A 2007 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology reported that women with high sun exposure levels – the most natural and abundant source of vitamin D – had half the risk of developing advanced breast cancer.
• A 2002 paper in Occupational and Environmental Medicine established that women who received regular sun exposure were less likely to die from breast cancer.


A Mayo’s web site says that health professionals are realizing that the recommended dosage of Vitamin D may not be high enough, but they haven’t agreed on what it ought to be. 


The National Academies of Sciences currently recommends 200 international units (IU) of vitamin D for children and adults up to age 50 and 400 to 600 IU for adults older than age 50. However, researchers now question whether these levels are adequate for optimal health.

So, how much vitamin D is enough? There’s still much debate about what the recommendations should be. But most researchers agree that a daily intake of 800 to 1,000 IU would benefit many people . . .

One article says the benefits of Vitamin D in preventing breast cancer may be found more in younger women.  On the other hand, an April 2008 article in Science Daily says

Genetic variations in the body’s receptor for vitamin D could increase the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women, according to a new study.

and this in another Science Daily article

The result of the study involving 1,394 breast cancer patients and an equal number of healthy women after menopause was surprisingly clear: Women with a very low blood level of 25(OH)D have a considerably increased breast cancer risk. The effect was found to be strongest in women who were not taking hormones for relief of menopausal symptoms. However, the authors note that, in this retrospective study, diagnosis-related factors such as chemotherapy or lack of sunlight after prolonged hospital stays might have contributed to low vitamin levels of breast cancer patients.

On the other hand. . . . .

ScienceDaily  Low blood levels of vitamin D have long been associated with disease, and the assumption has been that vitamin D supplements may protect against disease. However, this new research demonstrates that ingested vitamin D is immunosuppressive and that low blood levels of vitamin D may be actually a result of the disease process. Supplementation may make the disease worse.

So who knows? If the last article is right, then sunshine is okay and supplements are not.  That makes sense.  In a workshop on nutrion for cancer patients, we learned about getting what we need from what we eat, rather than looking to supplements.  We may not be able to get enough Vitamin D from what we eat, but we can get it from sunlight.  


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