Vitamin D Low in Blacks with Breast Cancer

MIAMI, Oct. 4 (UPI) — U.S. researchers found 60 percent of African-American women with breast cancer were low in vitamin D.

However, only 15 percent of white women with breast cancer in the study tested low for the “sunshine” vitamin.

The study found mean serum concentration of vitamin D was 29.8 ng/ml in white women and 19.3 ng/ml in African-American women. Researchers defined vitamin D deficiency as a serum concentration less than 20 ng/ml.

Serum levels were lowest among patients with triple-negative breast cancer, and aggressive disease was eight times more likely among patients with vitamin D deficiency, the study says.

“We know that darker skin pigmentation acts somewhat as a block to producing vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, which is the primary source of vitamin D in most people,” Susan Stock of the University of South Carolina in Columbia says in a statement.

Stock and colleagues tested vitamin D levels in the blood of 107 women diagnosed with breast cancer in the previous five years. Sixty of the women were African-American, the remaining 47 were white.

The findings are being presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Miami.

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