Sun Slashes Cancer Risks?

Breast Cancer Benefits from the Sun

For so long we’ve been told how dangerous the sun is for us and how exposing ourselves to it could lead to skin cancer. Well, now there’s some good news behind the rays. It seems like, in a recent Daily Mail report, Canadian researchers have found that “regular exposure to the sun’s rays may have a powerful anti-cancer effect by stimulating the production of vitamin D in the skin.” Indeed, it seems that if one wants to reduce their risk of breast cancer by 50 percent, they should spend 3+ hours a day exposed to sunlight!

According to laboratory tests, breast cells are able to convert Vitamin D into a hormone with anti-cancer properties. The research was undertaken using 3,101 breast cancer sufferers and comparing them with 3,471 health women. The women were asked how long they spent outdoors from April to October at different stages of their life. The results (published in the American Journal of Epidemiology) “showed that women who had at least 21 hours a week exposure to the sun’s UV rays in their teens were 29 per cent less likely to get cancer than those getting under an hour a day.” The greatest drop (by 26 percent) in risks to breast cancer landed on women who were outside most during their 40s and 50s and in the 60+ category, “sunshine halved their chances of a tumor.”

Men and Vitamin D

Talking about Vitamin D, a study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that when it comes to men, if they are getting the right amount of vitamin D, they have a greater chance of avoiding a heart attack and a stroke. The study found that men who were consuming at least 600 IU of Vitamin D daily, “were 16 per cent less likely to develop heart problems or stroke than men who got less than 100 IUD.” But with women, a similar pattern couldn’t be found.

MRI Screening Helps Save Lives- New Study Says

According to a recent study it appears that women who are considered high risk for breast cancer have a better chance of survival if they combine having an MRI with their routine mammograms.

Because MRIs are better than mammograms at finding tumors experts began recommending MRIs for their higher risk for breast cancer women. Because there are still several types of tumors that mammograms are better at finding than MRIs, both tests are needed. However, until this new study no one knew if combining the test actually saved lives.

The results confirm that having both tests can indeed save women’s lives. After six years of follow-up care 93% of women that carry the breast cancer mutation and who also have cancer were still alive. In earlier studies after five years only 74% of the women were still alive.

“We have always assumed that if you find the cancer early, the patients will do better,” said Dr. Maxine Jochelson, director of imaging at the breast and imaging center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan (she was not involved in the study). “This is the first paper that really has taken a large number of women and shown that if you find disease earlier it does translate into some improved outcomes.”